A trademark is any name, symbol, figure, letter, word, or mark adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant in order to designate his or her goods and to distinguish them from those manufactured or sold by others. A trademark is a proprietary term that is usually registered with the Patent and Trademark Office to assure its exclusive use by its owner. (Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, 1998). In the Philippines, the equivalent organization with which trademarks are registered is the Intellectual Property Office.
General Policy Statement
The University owns and controls its names(s), tagline, logos, seals, signature, and other symbols (referred hereafter as marks or trademarks) which have association with the University and are representative of the institution. USM seeks to protect the integrity of the name of the University, enhance its image through the use of its names and logo, and enjoy monetary benefits from merchandise bearing its name and logos.
The University reserves the right to prohibit the use and association of its name, symbols and logos to persons, groups, or activities whose values are not consistent with those of the University.
- Proper use of names
Under the Securities and Exchange Commission, the University is listed as University of Southern Mindanao.
- Association to persons and groups in and out of the University
As a general rule, any person previously or recently associated with the University, may tag his or her name to the University as a form of identity. However, it has to be clearly stated how the person is related to the University, specifying former and current conditions in relation to USM.
For organizations or departments within the campus, they may associate their names and activities with the University provided that they are legitimate groups within the University recognized by duly authorized administrators.
In cases that these groups or departments need to associate the University's names with another organization's in a collaborative activity for the external public, prior clearance has to be sought from the Office of the Chancellor.
The University is a non-profit organization engaged in teaching and research. As a general rule, the University or any person carrying the name of the University, representing it, or clearly identifying oneself as affiliated with the University, cannot make an endorsement of any product. Without limiting its meaning but only to serve as examples, the following constitutes an endorsement:
- An explicit pronouncement (written or broadcasted) in public media to support a company and its identified products or activities
- An appearance in a document or a program circulated and run publicly or in public mass media which associates the University, or any person carrying the name of the University, representing it, or clearly identifying oneself as supportive of another company and its identified products or activities
However, given the nature of the institution of the University as a non-profit organization, corporate sponsors and donors are sought to support the activities and programs of the University. While this may appear to constitute an endorsement, this should be viewed as the University's token of appreciation for the support given it. In such endeavors, the following guidelines apply:
- When the name and/or logo of a corporate partner should appear with the University name, symbols, or logos in any medium, the name of the University should appear in a prominent section, if not more prominent than the other company's marks.
- To protect the name of corporate partners and to sustain mutual confidence between the University and the corporate partner, the University should enforce product lock out when necessary.
- Assessment of licensee donation
Merchandisers given license to produce items bearing the name, logo, or symbols of the University should donate to the University an amount equivalent to eight percent of the net sale of the item. Merchandisers should also submit a report of its sales performance quarterly which will be the basis for computing the donation. Licensees will be issued the “Official USM” tags to associate the items with the University. Funds generated from this donation will be deposited in a fund to support, actually directly and exclusively, educational purposes only.
Individuals or groups on campus who wish to sell commemorative items bearing the University's names, symbols, and logos should first seek clearance from the Office of the Business Affairs. Similar conditions apply.
- A charge will not be imposed provided:
- The University, as represented by the Office of the Business Affairs, will produce the items for selling
- The beneficiary of the sales of the items bearing the University name, symbols, and logo is charitable in nature
- The name, symbols, and logo printed on official university publications, institutional advertisements, and other publications warranted by the University to carry such trademarks.
- They are members of the USM System which are also entitled to use the name USM provided that proper attachments of their official names are made. Misuse of the name can lead to a trademark infringement.
- Prior production of merchandise, the following clearances are necessary:
- Clearance to produce the item
- Clearance on design, item, and material to be used
- Clearances should be secured from the Office of the Business Affairs.
- Products which are sold but which the University will not license
- Official University letterheads
- Official University business cards
- Institutional Christmas cards
Any violations by persons or groups within the University will be dealt with administratively based on the provisions of appropriate manuals.
Violations or infringement of trademark will be charged with the appropriate complaint or legal action.