Use of Worcester Polytechnic Institute & WPI Name and Insignias

The name "Worcester Polytechnic Institute” and “WPI” and how they are used affects both the university as a whole and the individual members of the university community. Appropriate use of the name and insignias can benefit all, while inappropriate use may reflect negatively on both the institution and its individual members.

Because of these far-reaching implications, oversight regarding the use of the university's name and insignias, and the names of departments and programs within the university, will be conducted on an institutional level according to the principles and guidelines outlined in this policy.

Location: Boynton Hall
Office Location: 3rd Floor
Phone: 508-831-5305

I. General Guidelines and Procedures

  1. Any use of the university’s name and insignia must be submitted to, and approved in advance by, the Vice President for Marketing and Communications.
  2. In considering any proposed use, university officials will be guided by the principles outlined above, specifically:
    1. whether the association between the university and the activity, project or publication is accurately represented and whether appropriate mechanisms are in place or can be put in place to ensure that the representation continues to be accurate;
    2. whether the manner in which WPI’s name is used is consistent with its educational mission and will result in a positive effect on the image of the university;
    3. whether suitable arrangements have been made or can be made for the university to realize a benefit, financially or otherwise, from the use of its name;
    4. whether the university will incur any potential liability from the proposed use of its name.

II. Guidelines for use of the university’s name by faculty, staff, students and alumni

  1. Faculty members and staff may use the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and WPI name  to identify themselves on stationery, business cards, publications in research or educational journals and other materials used in the course of their university-related activities (e.g. John Smith, Professor of Mathematics, WPI.) Students and alumni may wish to identify themselves as students or graduates of the university in biographical information. In using or authorizing use of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and WPI name to identify themselves in connection with academic activities conducted with outside individuals or entities (e.g. authoring a book), members of the WPI community should assure that the WPI name is used in a manner that does not imply university endorsement or responsibility for any particular activity, project or product. For example, when authoring a book, a faculty member may state his or her academic appointment at WPI on the inside of the book or book jacket. The name of the university should not appear on the cover of the book. Likewise, the name of WPI may not be used in the title of any journal or other publication without the express permission of the university. Such permission will not normally be given in any circumstance where the university does not retain exclusive editorial control over the publication.
  2. All other proposed uses of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and WPI name by faculty and staff and any use of the name by students and alumni should be submitted to the Vice President for Marketing and Communications for approval.

III. Guidelines for use of name by individual divisions and departments

Divisions and departments may use the name of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and WPI, or the name of their division/department, in the following activities:  

  • Stationery, business cards and other materials used by the division/department in the course of their university-related activities;
  • Any content in printed, electronic or multimedia form in which the  division/department involved regularly communicates with their constituencies, including course catalogues and related materials, "home pages" on the World Wide Web and similar publications issued by the division/department;

Course materials and any materials prepared for use in connection with courses conducted at the university, whether in printed or digital form.

In any such uses, the division/department involved should take care that its use does not adversely affect other divisions/departments or the institution as a whole. Ultimately the Vice President for Marketing and Communications has the right to review and determine the appropriate use of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and WPI name.

Any other use of the university's name or the name of the individual division/department will require approval as outlined in Section II(2) above. In particular, prior approval is required if the use of name involves the sale or distribution for financial consideration of a product or service or the granting of a license for use of the name on merchandise, including but not limited to apparel, software or electronic media.

Any news, marketing and/or publicity materials designated for dissemination to media channels and extended audiences of elected/appointed officials, investors, donors, and others concerning official university matters requires up-front involvement (at the planning stages) with the Vice President for Marketing and Communications. The Vice President for Marketing and Communications, working with the mandate and approvals of the university's administrative leadership team, must review any materials and information targeted at the media. The Vice President for Marketing and Communications should be an integral part of any continuing external publicity or marketing outreach by other parties if it involves the use of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and WPI name, insignias, or affiliation, etc.

Use of the university name, seal, or logo on letterhead and business cards is standardized and regulated by the Division of Marketing and Communications.

Questions & Answers

Q.  Are the names "Worcester Polytechnic Institute" or “WPI” trademarked?

A.  Yes. WPI owns federal trademark registrations on the words Worcester Polytechnic Institute and WPI, on the University seal, and on various marks specific to divisions or departments.

Q.  I am a member of the faculty who has been approached by a company. The company would like to put my name and affiliation with WPI on its promotional materials. Is this allowed under the name use policy?

A.  No. Members of the WPI community (students, alumni, faculty, staff) may not use the WPI name to endorse products. WPI trademarks should not appear on products or on advertising relating to products or services. To prevent misuse of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and WPI name for commercial advertising purposes, for example, faculty who prepare reports for corporations should mark them "personal, not for publication."

Q.  I have started my own company and would like to promote its products by indicating in the advertising that I am a professor or staff member at WPI. Is this permitted?

A.  No. Members of the faculty may reference their WPI affiliation in connection with scholarly activities. This does not extend to the promotion of products or services.

Q.  How should a member of the faculty or staff describe his or her affiliation with the University when authoring a book or reviewing a colleague's work?

A.  By stating name, academic appointment, and institution, as in "John Doe, associate professor of Computer Science, Worcester Polytechnic Institute." In using the Worcester Polytechnic Institute or WPI name in connection with scholarly activities outside the university, faculty should ensure that the use does not imply university responsibility for that activity.

Q.  A group of WPI students would like to hire a vendor to produce t-shirts bearing the WPI name and seal. Is this permitted?

A.  Yes. This is permissible provided the vendor has a trademark license with the university or permission to produce goods without a license. The group should contact the General Counsel.

Q.  I would like to start a journal. May I call it the "WPI Journal of X"?

A.  Only if permission is obtained. Any publication that uses the Worcester Polytechnic Institute or WPI name in the title must be under the exclusive control of the university. Student publications must identify the work as that of a recognized student organization. Other restrictions apply.

Q.  Can I mention WPI at all?

A.  Yes. Nothing in the name use policy is intended to discourage fair use of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute or WPI name to comment on the activities of the university. The policy seeks to regulate display of the name in any manner that could reasonably be interpreted as sponsorship or endorsement by the university, that is inconsistent with the research and educational mission of the university, or that could diminish the reputation of the university.