Harvard limits use of name

April 10, 1998

Harvard University has set strict limits on the use of its name and crest by its faculty and staff. It is the first United States higher education institution to do so.

Administrators say they took the action out of concern that any of the university's 14,000 faculty and 25,000 students could cash in on its cachet.

"Harvard by any other name would perhaps thrive as well, but some uses of Harvard's name by others may not always promote the purposes of the university," the policy states.

"All members of the university and the institution as a whole benefit when its name is well used and suffer when it is ill used."

Under the policy, advance written approval must be obtained before the words "Harvard", "Harvard University" or "President and Fellows of Harvard College" may be used in the names of research projects, books and ad hoc organisations, as in "The Harvard Project onI" Similar restrictions apply to use of the university's crest. The deans of the university's individual colleges must approve the use of their school's title.

Faculty, staff or students who write books or establish businesses may disclose their university affiliation, but only "in a manner that does not imply university endorsement or responsibility for the particular activity, product or publication involved", the policy states.

It is not known if any staff or students had previously misused Harvard's name, officials said, because no one had monitored the matter.

"Do we think that there are people who have used it intentionally improperly? That is not the main worry," said Sarah Wald, assistant provost for policy and planning. "It is more a question of being clear that when you use the name Harvard from now on that it is not somehow seen as being endorsed by the whole university."

Many universities and colleges have set restrictions on the commercial use of their trademarked names and symbols, on T-shirts, for example, unless a royalty is paid. Harvard is apparently the first to limit the use of its title for academic purposes, intellectual property experts say.

Under the policy, outside requests to use the Harvard name on television programmes and in motion pictures must be approved by school administrators - even though the university's authority to control such use may conflict with free-speech rights. Harvard has long banned film crews from its campus.

"'Harvard University' is one of the most widely known and respected trademarks of any kind," the policy reads. "Any use of the Harvard name that may depreciate its long-term value should be avoided."

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