Working With Third Parties

External Organizations and the USC Brand
External Organization Logos: Print, Merchandise, and Display Materials

Marketing and Product Display on Campus
The marketing of products or services on USC’s campus and/or the display of commercial products on USC’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 USC 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 USC’s academic or research missions and may have tax implications for the University.

All merchandise (including marketing items as promotional giveaways) bearing the USC name, marks, icons, photography, etc., is reviewed and overseen by the Office of Trademarks and Licensing. When such items are made available for commercial purchase, appropriate licensing agreements must be reviewed and approved by this office.

Third Party Service Providers Engaged for Service to USC
Corporate brands providing service to USC as a contracted vendor may be referred to in copy language; use of third-party logos is not permitted. Exceptions may be made if using identifying marks makes it considerably easier for USC audiences to identify and access services in a time-sensitive situation (pick-up and drop-off locations, temporary signage related to an event). Consultation with University Communications Marketing group is required in these circumstances.

Note: Decisions to designate logos as location identifying marks must be made in consultation with the University Architect and appropriate signage committee.

Use of Third Party Names (Corporations and Organizations) in Connection with USC Academic and Research Programs
Third party names should not be included in the names of USC academic, research and other programs without approval by the appropriate dean(s) and the Office of the Provost.

USC Logos on Third Party Materials

Press Releases
USC Media Relations prohibits the issuance of joint press releases. In the case of multiple party media announcements, it is recommended that each organization should produce independent releases and are coordinated in terms of timing and media pitches. USC logos are prohibited on external organization press releases.

Event Sponsorship Materials
Academic units may use their specific logos to identify sponsorship of nonprofit, academic, or professional events and programs. If the event/program is sponsored by a city/state/county office, units are advised to consult with the Office of Government Relations for guidance.

If the event is sponsored by a central administrative office, the main USC logo may be appropriate and recommended for use. If the event is sponsored by multiple (three or more) USC units, it is recommended to use the main USC logo as artwork, with copy recognition of the individual units.

Presence of External, Non-USC brands on USC Websites
It is the ethical responsibility of USC departments and units, as representatives of the university, to protect the USC brand and its marks, thereby preserving its reputation, academic prestige, and historical contributions.

In these interests, the affiliation of the brand with third-party products or services outside of contractual agreements reviewed and approved by the appropriate Dean and Provost, or members of the President’s Cabinet, are strictly prohibited.

The appearance of endorsement of a third-party good or service should be carefully considered before entering into an agreement to affiliate as a risk to the brand reputation. When in doubt, it is advisable to consult with the University Communications, Trademarks and Licensing, General Counsel, or, if applicable, University Relations.

Non-USC third-party or corporate logos and links may not be included on any USC academic website except for the following:

  • Event-Related Sponsorship. 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 USC Global Conference event sponsors, Visions and Voices event sponsors and academic conference sponsors.
  • Funding Agency, Academic Consortium, Philanthropic Gift Recognition. USC program/project websites may include external grant funding agencies and academic consortia marks if required in funding agreements. The proportional size of marks must be no greater than 3:5 ratio of external mark: USC logo. Recommended placement is to place the funders’ names and logos on research project web pages that are designated to identifying/honoring funding sources.
  • Accrediting Organizations. Academic and administrative units may display marks from accrediting organizations in a ratio of 3:5 ratio of external mark: USC logo.