Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Name Use Guidelines

Main content start

Guidelines Regarding Use of Stanford’s Name and Emblems in Endorsements and Non-Stanford Promotional Materials

AS AMENDED:  SEPTEMBER 1, 2017; MARCH 1, 2018; JUNE 5, 2022; JUNE 29, 2023


“External Collaborators” means non-Stanford entities, such as vendors, industrial affiliates, research funders, and donors, among others.   

“Marks” includes (i) Stanford’s name, (ii) the Block S emblem, (iii) the Stanford Seal, (iv) the terms “Cardinal and “The Farm,” (v) all Stanford school, department, institute, center and other organization names and logos, and (vi) various campus buildings and landmarks. Please see the Registered Marks, Unregistered Marks, and buildings and landmarks listed in Section 1 of the Policy for additional information.

"Partner," as further described in the guidelines, may be used to describe a third party working with Stanford faculty and/or staff under a formal agreement toward the successful completion of a research or educational activity in support of Stanford’s mission. The parties’ use of the term partner or partnership to describe these or any other type of collaborations between a Stanford employee and a third party does not in itself constitute the formation of a legal partnership, joint-venture or other co-operative entity.* 

“Policy” means Stanford’s Administrative Guide Memo 1.5.4.

“Promotional Materials” include promotional press releases, websites, videos, case studies, reports, brochures, presentation slides, merchandise, packaging, social media postings, and other marketing/promotional materials that include Stanford’s Marks.

“Research Funders” include government agencies, corporations, foundations, and individual donors.

“Research Partners” include research organizations collaborating with Stanford on a research project.

“Stanford Logos” include the Stanford wordmark, University seal, and Block S emblems.

“Stanford Activities” include all activities conducted by Stanford faculty and staff in the course of their roles in executing Stanford’s mission. In particular, Stanford Activities include activities in which (i) Stanford controls the entire curriculum/agenda for the program (or the curriculum/agenda is subject to Stanford’s approval if it is developed by a third party) and, in the case of an academic program, over 50% of the program is taught by Stanford faculty, (ii) a Stanford school, department, institute or other unit pays for the activity and receives the revenues generated by the activity (if any), (iii) a Stanford school, department, institute or other unit is an official sponsor of the activity, (iv) the activity is part of the Stanford unit’s official activities (as approved by the dean or other unit head), or (v) a Stanford faculty member, staff member or student officially represents the University in connection with the activity. A faculty member’s research activities are considered to be Stanford Activities. A faculty member’s Outside Professional Activities (Research Policy Handbook, 4.1, 4.2) are not considered to be Stanford Activities. 

*Stanford's valued relationships with donors, research funders, program sponsors, clinical trials sponsors, vendors, suppliers, consultants, licensees, members of Stanford’s Industrial Affiliates programs, and other corporate affiliates are not considered to be partnerships, and the word “partner” should be avoided and other words such as “collaborator,” or “associate,” should be used to describe the university’s relationship with them.

General Policy

Stanford’s policies regarding use of the Stanford’s name, emblems, other trademarks, and other images are contained in Administrative Guide Memo 1.5.4. In particular, the Policy prohibits use of Stanford’s Marks in connection with an actual or implied endorsement of non-Stanford entities or their products, services, or activities. Actual or implied endorsement may suggest a relationship with another entity that does not exist and, in some cases, might compromise the integrity of Stanford’s educational and research missions.

Use of Stanford’s Marks by non-Stanford entities in their Promotional Materials has the potential to create an actual or implied endorsement by Stanford.  Therefore, except as permitted in these Guidelines, non-Stanford entities may not use Stanford’s Marks in Promotional Materials.

Stanford values its relationships with and the support it receives from its donors, Research Funders, industrial affiliate program members, and other program sponsors and Stanford encourages appropriate sharing of information about these collaborations. In particular, Stanford shares information in accordance with Stanford’s Openness in Research Policy. However, endorsements, either actual or implied, of External Collaborators by Stanford or its schools, departments, or other units are not permitted. These Guidelines outline the circumstances under which use of Stanford’s Marks by External Collaborators is permitted.

Please contact with any questions about the Policy or these Guidelines.


Stanford’s Marks are protected by law from use by others outside of the University. Protection of Stanford’s Marks is the responsibility of all Stanford faculty, staff, and students. 

These Guidelines were developed in order to help Stanford faculty, staff and students avoid an actual or implied endorsement by Stanford of non-Stanford organizations, products, services, or activities, including lending their own names, or the names of their schools, departments, institutes or other Stanford units, in a manner that could imply University endorsement. 

The Policy and these Guidelines should not be interpreted as limiting in any way (i) Stanford’s ability to promote and otherwise disseminate information about its research projects, research results, or other academic or research activities at conferences, in publications or in other appropriate ways, (ii) a faculty member’s ability to use their academic title in the course of commenting on scholarship, such as in connection with the publication of a book review or in academic or research publications, (iii) an individual’s ability to provide opinions in their personal capacities, or (iv) an individual’s ability to include Stanford’s name as the location of their employment and/or their Stanford title in their resume or other biographical materials.

If conflicts between these Guidelines and the Administrative Guide Memo 1.5.4 or Stanford’s Industry Interactions Policy are identified, the Administrative Guide Memo and the Industry Interactions Policy will govern. 


  1. Use of Stanford Trademarks: Except as otherwise provided in these Guidelines, Stanford’s Marks may not be used in connection with any Promotional Materials developed and/or used by non-Stanford entities or in connection with any activities which do not qualify as Stanford Activities. 
  2. Use of Stanford’s Trademarks on Merchandise: Stanford’s Marks may not be included on any merchandise produced by a third party, whether or not offered for sale, except as otherwise provided in the Policy. 
  3. Agreements Regarding of Use Stanford’s Name and Other Trademarks: Only authorized members of the Stanford community may enter into agreements on behalf of the University. Anyone who enters into an agreement on behalf of the University must consult with Stanford’s Procurement Office, Trademark Licensing Office, or General Counsel’s Office before agreeing to grant any third party the right to use Stanford’s Marks in or on any Promotional Materials. The foregoing applies to all agreements, including online agreements, terms of use, terms of service, and other similar standard terms and conditions that users might be required to accept before using software, a product or a service. This will ensure that all agreements are consistent with the Policy and these Guidelines. Any grant of the right to use Stanford’s Marks in or on any Promotional Materials in contravention of the Policy or these Guidelines shall be null and void.  
  4. Use of Stanford Images: Photographs or drawings of iconic Stanford buildings and landmarks identified in the Policy may not be used in or on any Promotional Materials developed and/or used by non-Stanford entities. Three exceptions to this Guideline are: (i) faculty may use photographs of themselves taken on campus as part of their biographical materials, (ii) conferences and summer camps sponsored by non-Stanford entities may include in their brochure or website a photograph of the specific building in which the activities will occur (such as a dorm, an athletic facility or conference center) and (iii) with permission from the Assistant Vice President of Brand Management, architects, designers, and other vendors, may include pictures of their work at Stanford in a portfolio which contains other examples of their work. However, the portfolio may not highlight their work for Stanford or include a case study of the work done at or for Stanford.
  5. Quotes by Faculty, Staff, and Students: In general, Stanford faculty members, staff members, and students may not provide quotes that are given, or appear to be given, in connection with their university responsibilities or activities which endorse a company, product, service or activity (either directly or implied). Requests to provide such quotes should not be accepted without review and approval by the Assistant Vice President of Brand Management.

    This Guideline does not prevent faculty, staff, and students from providing: (i) appropriate factual quotes (including their Stanford titles) in academically-oriented, non-commercial, and non-promotional press releases and reports which reference the use of a particular product or service used in the individual’s research or other work; (ii) appropriate quotes (including their Stanford titles) when expressing gratitude for support of Stanford and its programs; (iii) quotes or endorsements in connection with their non-Stanford activities so long as the individual’s Stanford title is not included, reference to Stanford is not made, and the activity is unrelated to the individual’s university responsibilities, activities or connection.    
  6. Appearances in Videos: In general, Stanford faculty, staff, and students may not appear in corporate videos that are created for promotional and marketing purposes. This includes videos which will be shown at internal company sales conferences or which will be made available on the company website. Videos made by entities other than the University that feature Stanford faculty, staff, or students, highlight Stanford research, or take place on Stanford’s campus may be made only with permission from the Assistant Vice President of Brand Management. Please see Film, Photography & Video Requests for further details.
  7. Press Releases:  All press releases issued by third parties should be reviewed and approved as follows:
    1. All other press releases issued by third parties which describe or relate to Stanford’s Activities should be reviewed and approved by the Assistant Vice President of Brand Management.
    2. Press releases issued by third parties which describe or relate to the activities of Stanford’s schools, departments, interdisciplinary institutes, or other Stanford units must be reviewed and approved by the communications director of the school, department, institute, or unit.
    3. Press releases issued by third parties announcing gifts and grants must be reviewed and approved in advance by the Office of Development and the Assistant Vice President of Brand Management.
  8. Press Interviews; Industry or Company Conference Presentations: Faculty, staff, and students may (i) be interviewed by the press in connection with their research and educational activities, (ii) speak at industry conferences about their research and educational activities, and (iii) speak at corporate events in connection with their research and educational activities so long as the primary purpose of the activity is not to endorse a particular company or its products, services or other activities. When speaking with the press or at conferences, whenever possible, faculty, staff, and students should speak in general terms and avoid mentioning a specific company, product, or service in a manner which could be construed to be an actual or implied endorsement by the University, a school, a department, an institute or other Stanford unit. This Guideline should not limit the ability of Stanford faculty, staff, and students to share information about their research and other activities in the interest of educating the public in general or the academic community in particular.   
  9. Case Studies: Vendors, including suppliers of resources to construction and research projects, may not publish case studies describing Stanford’s experience with their products or services.
  10. Other Promotional Materials: Other than as referenced in these Guidelines, all Promotional Materials prepared by a third party which refer to Stanford or any of its units must be reviewed and approved in advance by both the Stanford official responsible for the relationship with the third party and either the Assistant Vice President of Brand Management (in connection with Stanford’s vendors, administrative activities and business relationships) or by the Provost or cognizant Dean (in connection with academic and research activities).
  11. Campus Lists and Website Links and Referrals: The policy prohibiting endorsement by Stanford does not preclude publishing lists of nearby hotels, restaurants, and other services, such as those lists produced by Stanford Visitors Center and the Conference Center. 
  12. Use of the Term “Partner”: Non-Stanford organizations have many different relationships with the University. When describing Stanford’s relationship with an outside entity, please be as specific as possible and reserve the term “Partner” for relationships that meet the definition of “Partner” above. 
  13. Individual Endorsement: Although Stanford University does not endorse organizations, products, or services, individual faculty members, staff members, and students may give opinions or make endorsements solely in their personal capacity. It should always be clear that these are personal opinions and do not reflect the University’s position on any matter. The individual’s connection to Stanford and the individual’s Stanford title should not be referenced when a faculty or staff member is providing an opinion or endorsement in their individual capacity.  
  14. Additional Guidelines: The following Guidelines apply to specific groups and are in addition to the policies listed above:

    1. Additional Guidelines for Research Funders: Reports of research results from work done at Stanford may only be authored by Stanford faculty, students, and staff and their Research Partners. Research Funders may not publish reports of research results from work done at Stanford. Research results and reports about research done at Stanford may not be used to promote commercial products or services if reference is made to Stanford’s name or other Marks. Research Funders may issue press releases which factually describe their support of Stanford research and may make other factual statements about their support in connection with their public relations efforts. While Research Funders may not publish any research results, they may provide links to published research results on their websites and may factually refer to all published results so long as these statements are not used to imply Stanford’s endorsement of any company, product or service.  Research Funders may not use any Stanford Marks in connection with these descriptions. In addition, Research Funders may not use Stanford’s Marks or any Stanford faculty member’s name or Stanford title in connection with the packaging, marketing or promotion of any products or services. Research Funders may include Stanford’s name in plain text in lists of recipients of research funding by the company. No Stanford Logos may be included and the list must be in alphabetical order. Such lists should be sufficiently long that Stanford is not singled out. Other use of Stanford’s Marks by Research Funders in their Promotional Materials must be reviewed and approved by the Stanford department, institute or other unit receiving the research grant and the Assistant Vice President of Brand Management.
    2. Additional Guidelines for Research Partners and Others Involved in Stanford Research Activities: The appropriate Stanford Marks may be used (i) on websites hosted by Stanford’s Research Partners, (ii) by Research Partners who are publishing research results which include Stanford’s research results, (iii) by third parties who are either directly recruiting research subjects on Stanford’s behalf or who are promoting a Stanford research study on websites where potential research participants will likely be browsing, or (iv) by grant applicants who are submitting a grant proposal that includes Stanford as a potential grant recipient or sub-grantee.

    3. Additional Guidelines for Vendors and other Companies with a Business Relationship with Stanford: Promotional Materials that identify a specific unit of the University as a customer or client, but do not give an opinion about a company or its products or services, or otherwise imply any endorsement, are permitted as described below.  In this case, only the name of a particular school, department, or other unit, and not Stanford or Stanford University, may be used unless the product or service benefits the university more broadly (such as Stanford’s administrative systems, travel services, etc.). So long as all approvals required by these Guidelines have been obtained, the following materials are permitted:
      1. Inclusion of the Stanford school, department, institute, or other unit name among other names in a list of customers on the company’s website, in a press release, in a brochure, in a presentation, or in an annual report, so long as the Stanford school or department name is in plain text and not singled out or highlighted in any way, such as by font style, size or color. No Stanford Logos may be included and the list must be in alphabetical order. The list should include all of the vendor’s customers, or a minimum of 20 customers if the complete list is longer. The head of the school, department, institute or other unit that is primarily responsible for the vendor relationship must approve inclusion of their unit name on the list, and it should only be included when the unit is a satisfied customer.  The list must be identified simply as a “Customer List” and no endorsement of the company or its products, services, or other activities should be stated or implied.
      2. Factual press releases announcing the vendor relationship which do not include any qualitative claims related to Stanford’s needs, the product’s performance or the service provided, and which do not contain any quotes by Stanford faculty, staff, or students. 
    4. Additional Guidelines for Donors: So long as use of Stanford’s name in their Promotional Materials has been reviewed and approved by the Office of Development, donors may factually describe their donation to Stanford in connection with their public relations efforts. They may not use any Stanford Logos in connection with these statements.
    5. Additional Guidelines for the Licensees of Stanford Technology: Licensees may only make a factual statement that they have licensed technology from Stanford. This statement may be included in descriptions of the company’s business in presentations, annual reports, press releases and on the company website. It may not, however, be included in any other Promotional Materials, including the packaging, marketing or promotion of any company products or services. 
    6. Additional Guidelines for Industrial Affiliates Program Members: Industrial Affiliates Program members may factually state that they are members of the affiliates program on their website and in their other Promotional Materials. They may not use any Stanford Logos in connection with these statements. Industrial Affiliates Program members may not publish reports of research results from work done at Stanford. 

Additional Guidelines for Athletic Sponsors: Separate policies governing athletic program sponsors may be found in the Guidelines for Use of Stanford's Name and Emblems by Athletics Sponsor.


For questions, please contact:

University Communications

Trademark Licensing Office

Guidelines Regarding Stanford’s Promotion of Non-Stanford Entities

Effective date: March 1, 2014
Amended:  September 1, 2017


  1. Corporate Logos and Links on Stanford’s Website: Corporate logos and links may not be included on Stanford’s website except as permitted below:

    1. Event and sponsor’s names and logos may be included in event and program materials so long as they are included in a section that is clearly identified as event or program sponsors and this section is less prominently featured than the other event or program information. Examples include Stanford Live event sponsors, Cantor Arts Center exhibition sponsors, and academic conference sponsors. 
    2. Stanford Industrial Affiliates Programs may include members’ names and/or logos only on web pages devoted exclusively to identifying members of the program or, if using a scrolling website format, at the bottom of the website in a section clearly identified as “Industrial Affiliates Program Members." Corporate names and logos may not be included elsewhere on the Industrial Affiliates Program website, including the home page.
    3. Recipients of corporate or foundation grants or other research funding may include the Research Funders’ names and logos on research project web pages that are exclusively devoted to identifying funding sources.
  2. Marketing and Product Display on Campus: The marketing of products or services on Stanford’s campus and/or the display of commercial products on Stanford’s campus for promotional purposes is not permitted unless the activity (i) is connected with a third party business which leases space on campus (such as a campus café) or (ii) is approved by Stanford in connection with a program sponsorship and does not generate unrelated business income for the University. In either case, such marketing and/or display must also be consistent with all other policies governing commercial activity on campus. Unrelated business income is revenue generated by activities that are not related to Stanford’s academic or research missions and has tax implications for the University.
  3. Use of Third Party Names in Connection with Stanford Academic and Research Programs: Third party names should not be included in the names of Stanford academic, research, and other programs without approval by the cognizant dean(s) and the Provost.