Frequently Asked Questions

What are the official school colors for Michigan State University?

The official school colors are green and white. For MSU green, use PMS 567.

What qualifies as a trademark, logo or symbol?

Any mark, name, logo, symbol, nickname, abbreviation, word, mascot, slogan, insignia uniform or landmark that is associated with Michigan State University and is distinguished from any other university, team or organization.

What are MSU's trademarks?

Please visit the MSU Trademarks page for review.

What is a licensee?

A licensee is a person, company or organization who has been granted the right, under legal agreement, to use MSU's trademarks.

Who must be licensed?

Any person, organization or business that wishes to use Michigan State's name, logos, marks, indicia or verbiage on any product, video, advertisements or for any other commercial purpose must have a license prior to production and distribution. This includes businesses that sell to university departments, campus organizations and student organizations that use the product for fundraising and charity. Manufacturers of products bearing MSU marks are required to pay a royalty on the wholesale price of the product. For multiple forms of licenses available with Michigan State University, see Licensees.

Michigan State University trademark use in the traditional news media treated as news is not subject to licensing fees.

How long does it take to obtain approval from MSU?

A decision on any license request will depend on the nature and extent of the use being applied for, the number of trademarks involved, the number and diversity of products for which the trademark or trademarks will be used and other possible factors, such as whether the university believes there is a need to seek legal advice on the application. Please anticipate 8-12 weeks for completion of the standard license application .

Where do I find a licensing application?

See Apply for License.

Do I have to submit art for approval?

Yes, always. Students organizations/club sports, university departments and intercollegiate athletics must submit artwork for approval, along with their licensed vendor information. Requests can be made through the Licensing Authorization Form.

Licensees will submit artwork through IMGCL's Brand Manager 360 portal.

What does MSU do if unlicensed merchandise is discovered in the marketplace?

The university is committed to protecting and preserving its trademark rights. Any commercial use of university marks without a trademark license is addressed promptly, by legal action if necessary. 

How does Michigan State University ensure products are manufactured in an approved facility?

Michigan State University adheres to the Fair Labor Association's code of conduct. Please review Social Responsibility for more details. 

How can I tell if a product is officially licensed?

Look for the "Officially Licensed Collegiate Product" label or hologram. Retail licensees are required to include the IMGCL graphic, hangtag or holographic sticker with each licensed product. This serves as a notice to consumers that the merchandise is approved for sale by the university.

What do royalties support at MSU?

Students! Royalties generated from the commercial use of MSU's marks support student scholarships and programming for MSU students as well as athletic scholarships for student-athletes, less the actual administrative expenses of running the trademark licensing program.

The administrative expenses include maintaining the legal requirements of trademark registration, addressing product infringement, supporting the Fair Labor Association and Workers Rights Consortium and maintaining the Trademarks and Licensing Office.

I would like to sell items with MSU logos on them at a craft fair. How do I go about doing that?

The Crafter Licensing Program allows for independent artisans to participate in MSU's licensing program by legally producing products adorned with Michigan State trademarks and names. This license is ideal for fans and alumni who are interested in producing small quantities of merchandise for craft fairs and online marketplaces instead of retail stores. For more information on this program, see Apply For Crafter License.

I want to have a graduation or wedding cake decorated with a Michigan State University logo. Do I need permission?

Yes, permission to have a cake decorated is as easy as e-mailing the licensing office at licensing@union.msu.edu.  Please provide your name and the name and address of the bakery when asking for permission.