Trademarks and Licensing Definitions

Reference the definitions below as you review the trademarks and licensing webpages to help you understand industry phrases.

blank: A blank is an item that has not yet been imprinted with university branded elements such as the name or logos.  

brand extension: A lockup that consists of the interlocking UB logo to the left, the university’s informal name, and a school, division or unit name.

call to action: Messaging intended to induce the viewer to perform a specific action, such as including a URL to encourage the user to visit a website.

campaign: Any series of actions, events, communication tactics and/or tangible components meant to achieve a particular result, such as a recruitment campaign to increase student enrollment.

clear space rule: The required space around a mark to maintain legibility, ensure consistent presentation and maximize impact. There are various clear space rules utilized by UB for different trademarks.

crest: The crest is a supporting graphic used in university communications that emphasizes heritage and connotes a traditional, historic or formal visual identity. This mark is particularly appropriate for use in international markets. It should be used as a graphic element and always in association with the formal academic name but never locked up. The crest is different from and often confused with the seal.

interlocking UB logo: Original artwork consisting of the letters U and B that are intertwined.

licensed vendor: A business or corporation that is approved and licensed by UB Trademarks and Licensing to produce merchandise that bears the University at Buffalo’s marks. These vendors must meet insurance requirements, show consistent quality and agree to abide by the university’s Trademarks and Licensing Code of Conduct. Vendors must complete an application with the university’s licensing agent to become licensed.

lockup: A set of design elements that, when used together (locked up), create a visual logo. Lockup, logo and mark are frequently used interchangeably.

logo: A graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ready recognition. The university’s interlocking UB is an example of a logo.

marks: Names, including the initials U and B, seals, symbols, insignia, logos, original artwork, word marks, hashtags, signatures, taglines, uniforms, mascots, or other identifying visuals, as well as still and moving images, or any other identifier that represents the University at Buffalo.

master brand lockups: Marks that have been created to represent the university in all forms of communication as the main logo. There are five logos with varying alignment/justification, each with the interlocking UB logo with the university name. There are informal logos using “University at Buffalo” and formal logos, which use “University at Buffalo” with the SUNY modifier line (“The State University of New York”) that appears below the name. These versions are also available in various colors and file types to suit different applications. For more information, please review the file format and color tip sheet.

merchandise files: High-resolution electronic files that have the required TM/® symbols in place and are ready for vendor use. For more information, please review the file format and color tip sheet.

P-Card: Acronym for Procurement Card. P-Cards are issued as credit cards to individuals but are the liability of the university. Cardholders can make authorized purchases directly from a vendor without processing the traditional procurement paperwork.

PMS: Stands for Pantone Matching System, a color system based upon over one thousand standardized ink colors. It was developed by the Pantone Corporation but is now the standard used by most ink manufacturers in the U.S. For more information, please review the file format and color tip sheet.

public domain: Creative materials that are not protected by copyright, trademark or patent laws. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission; however, no one can claim ownership either.

RF: Acronym for Research Foundation.

royalties: Royalties are payments made in exchange for the use of a trademark. The current royalty rate for the university is 12%, except when using the Little Victor brand assets which have a royalty rate of 13%. Royalties are collected whenever an item is produced that has the potential to be sold in a retail setting or is designed in such a way that it could be sold in a store. The royalty rate is applied to the wholesale price of a good, not to its retail price. For example, the retail price of a shirt in a store may be $20; the actual wholesale price may be $10. Using the royalty rate of 12% (assuming the shirt does not use Little Victor), the royalties collected on that shirt would be $1.20.

seal: The most closely guarded element of our visual identity, the seal is reserved for official presidential communications, such as diplomas, stationery and signage. It may be used for high-end applications, merchandise and gifts, but only with approval from University Communications. It must not be manipulated, altered or modified for use by other entities.

secondary reference: Any text identifier or lockup that references the university name to help clearly connect the institutional symbol/trademark to the University at Buffalo. For example:

  • #UBuffalo can be used in conjunction with the spirit mark.
  • The stylized “Buffalo” word mark for UB Athletics may be used as a secondary reference with the spirit mark because the stylized wordmark is a copyrighted mark that is uniquely UB’s and helps to tie those respective elements to the university when used in conjunction.
  • The interlocking UB or the letters “UB” in plain type may not be used with the spirit mark as neither symbol clearly ties the other back to the University at Buffalo brand.
  • The UB master brand mark or a unit lockup may be used in lieu of just the interlocking UB as it clearly contains the “University at Buffalo” name.

sew out: A sew out is an actual sample of an embroidered design appearing on the final product using the exact thread and fabric in the colors ordered. Sew outs are essential to ensure final quality and legibility. This will typically increase production time by 10-12 days.

spirit mark: The spirit mark (bullhead) is the most informal of our marks. It is ideally suited to represent the hard-driving, competitive nature of UB Athletics, but is available for use across the entire university community to reflect spirit, pride and the student experience.

sub-brand, sub-brand lockup: Along with the interlocking UB logo, the university’s informal name, and a school, division, or unit name, a sub-brand includes the office/program/degree name within the lockup design.

sustainability: In simplest terms, sustainability is about our future generations, and the world we will leave them.

tagline: A tagline, or descriptive text, is a short, memorable phrase that is used throughout communications material. In higher education, it can be difficult to develop a truly unique tagline that avoids cliches, which is why they are generally not permitted. Occasionally, University Communications may approve the use of a tagline for temporary or celebratory use if an appropriate business case exists. If allowed, taglines must observe extended clear space rules.

trademark symbols: A small“TM” attached to a logo is used to proclaim common law trademark rights to that logo. A circle R symbol (®) is used when the logo is legally registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Unlike the TM symbol, the circle R symbol allows the owner to seek damages from infringers in court.

UBF: Acronym for University at Buffalo Foundation.

vendor: A company that does business with the university.

vendor proof: A preliminary version of the finished piece either in a PDF format or hard copy. Proofs are necessary to ensure that the customer and vendor are in complete agreement on the desired outcome of a product before it moves into production. Proofs should contain imprint process, imprint area, product dimensions, ink or thread color, blank color, blank material, replicated imprint design, and any other information pertinent to the item and imprint process.