Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long have NC State teams been called “Wolfpack”?
A: Prior to 1921 the university’s teams were known as the Farmers and Mechanics, Aggies, Techs and Red Terrors. In February 1921 in a letter to the Alumni New an alum from New York suggested that the team needed a more “snappy and aggressive’ name and suggested the name “Wolfpack”. Sometime between that letter in February and the first football game that year the name was changed to the Wolfpack. The Wolfpack first appeared September 25th, 1921 with a 21-0 win against the “Yellow Jackets” of Randolph-Macon. The 1922 Agromeck yearbook has the first Wolfpack team photo and also includes artwork of an opposing team’s football player running from a pack of wolves. In 1947, by an overwhelming student vote “Wolfpack” became the official team name for all sports. In 1983 NC State University was awarded a federal registration to “Wolfpack” for use with collegiate sports and sporting events, in large part because of the uniqueness of the combined words. NC State Wolfpack is among a handful of collegiate team names that do not end in ‘”s”. (Alabama Tide, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and Syracuse Orange among others).
Q: I would like to sell items with NC State logos on them at a craft fair. How do I go about doing that?
A: NC State has what is called a “Crafter License” that allows North Carolina residents to use their creativity and craft along with NC State trademarks to sell authorized products. The four primary goals of the Crafter license program are:
- Protect the NC State trademarks from unauthorized use.
- Allow small crafters the opportunity to grow into small businesses and eventually become a standard licensee.
- Prevent a saturation of products in the market that would have negative consequences with established commercial licensees and local retailers.
- Collect revenue to cover administrative costs and to contribute to scholarship revenue.
There is an application and sample required, a yearly fee and reporting requirements, and restrictions on types of products and how the products can be sold. For more information on the Crafter License program email firstname.lastname@example.org and include “Crafter License” in the subject line.
Q: What are NC State’s trademarks?
A: An NC State trademark is any mark, logo, symbol, nickname, letter(s), word or derivative that can be associated with NC State and can be distinguished from those of other institutions or entities.
NC State has both graphical trademarks and verbiage that are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The graphical trademarks are those that are commonly called “logos” and include the famous “Block S,” “Tuffy Logo Strutting,” and “Tuffy Logo head” among others. Also trademarked are the chancellor’s or official seal and the commercial seal.
Verbiage that is registered includes “NCSU,” “NC State,” “North Carolina State University,” “Wolfpack” and “Wolfpack Women.”
Q: What is trademark licensing?
A: Trademark licensing is the process of allowing a third party (called a “licensee”) to use the trademarks of the trademark owner (“licensor”) on products, services or advertising in exchange for money and/or acknowledgment that the trademark belongs to the licensor. The benefit to licensees is that they can use the brand recognition and brand affinity of the trademark to assist in the sales process. Licensors benefit from increased brand awareness, broader distribution of products and a revenue stream that they might not have in normal daily business.
There are downsides to licensing as well, as the licensee must adhere to the requirements that the licensor demands including sales reporting, proper use of the marks and product approvals. Licensors face risks to their brands when they allow third parties to use the marks, which could cause problems if the product is poorly made or otherwise negatively reflects on the licensor’s brand or reputation.
Q: Who needs to be licensed?
A: Any person, organization or business that wishes to use NC 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 fund raising and charity. Manufacturers of products bearing NC State marks are required to pay a royalty on the wholesale price of the product. NC State has several types of licenses, which can be found at here,
NC State trademark use in the traditional news media treated as news is not subject to licensing fees.
Q: What does it cost to become a licensee?
A: Prospective licensees must pay an application fee and an advance royalty payment of between $250 and $500 when the agreement is signed. NC State receives a royalty fee based on the wholesale value of every product sold under the standard commercial license, which is paid by the licensee quarterly. A yearly renewal fee is also required of those licensees which are renewed.
Q: How does my company become a licensee?
A: NC State uses the services and expertise of a licensing agency to manage the hundreds of licensing applications, licenses, licensees and administrative duties associated with NC State trademarks. License applications are submitted to the licensing agency along with an application fee. The licensing agency qualifies the applicant’s ability to produce and market products that bear the university’s marks. If accepted, the license applicant then receives a license agreement which, when signed (along with the payment of an advance on the royalties), allows them to produce and market products with the university’s marks. Please be aware that NC State may not approve additional licensees for products if the market is already well represented. The process and application forms can be found here.
Q: Why do I have to use a licensee to print my student organization’s T-shirt?
A: T-shirts and other products used for fund raising, charity and resale are considered “commercial use” and require the collection of royalties from vendors who have a license agreement with NC State. Permission is granted to student organizations to use trademarks from a licensed vendor after the organization has received prior approval from trademark licensing. This process is initiated by using the Trademark Use Request.
Products that are to be given to members, items promoting an event or posters advertising an event still require approval but do not have to go through a licensed vendor if no mark-up from cost occurs and no profit is being made on the item(s).
Q: How are the trademark licensing royalties used?
A: The royalties generated from the commercial use of NC State’s marks support athletic scholarships, merit scholarships, student need-based financial aid,and study abroad scholarships and help build the licensing endowment fund, less the actual administrative expenses of running the program.
The administrative expenses include maintaining the legal requirements of trademark registration, addressing product infringement, supporting the Fair Labor Association efforts to provide better working conditions in factories that produce licensed products and maintaining the Trademark Licensing Office. During the past five years, more than $2.1 million has gone to scholarships and over $1.9 million has been added to the licensing endowment fund.
Q: I have painted a scene with the university’s Bell Tower and would like to sell prints of the image. Do I need to be licensed?
A: Yes, if the image or scene is readily identifiable as being associated with the campus and if verbiage identifies it as being associated with NC State University.
Q: Can I use “Wolfpack” in my advertising?
A: Retailers can use such terms as “Go Wolfpack” or “We Support the Wolfpack” on their temporary storefront signs with prior approval, and if it’s not used in conjunction with an offer, a particular product or promotion. Wolfpack Sports Marketing is the marketing partner of NC State’s athletic department and negotiates sponsorships and advertising for venues, programs, gopack.com and on-air programming.
Q: I want to have a graduation cake decorated with the Strutting Wolf logo. Do I need permission?
A: Yes, but permission to have a cake decorated is as easy as e-mailing the trademark office with the name of the purchaser, the bakery and its address and the recipient and simply asking for permission. email@example.com. And congratulations to the graduate!
Q: A talented designer has created a wolf caricature with the Block S logo on his chest, and we would like to use this for our charity event. Do we need permission?
A: The NC State University’s Strutting Wolf logo (also known as “Tuffy”) is the only wolf design that is permitted to have the Block S logo, NCSU, or NC State verbiage used with it, and no other wolf designs will be permitted that incorporate those design elements that make Tuffy unique. Of course, we are the “Wolfpack,” and as there are many unique wolves in a pack, we do allow wolf designs to be used—just not with those elements that make Tuffy special.