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Frequently Asked Questions

Why have a licensing program?

The Coast Guard trademark licensing program protects and promotes the positive images associated with the Coast Guard by ensuring that Coast Guard trademarks are used in a consistent manner and in good taste both externally and internally. Official Coast Guard licensed products will be indentifiable with a hang-tag that states the product has been reviewed by the United States Coast Guard.

What qualifies as a trademark?

Any mark, logo, symbol, nickname, letter(s), word(s) or combination of these that points to and/or can be associated with the United States Coast Guard qualifies as a trademark. This would include the Coast Guard Emblem, the Coast Guard Mark and the combination of letters “USCG” or “USCGR”; the words “Coast Guard,” “United States Coast Guard,” “Coast Guard Reserve,” “United States Coast Guard Reserve,” “Coast Guard Auxiliary,” “United States Coast Guard Auxiliary,” “Lighthouse Service,” and “Life Saving Service.” The Official Coast Guard Seal is reserved for official use only.

What products can be licensed?

All products using a Coast Guard trademark need to be licensed or receive an approval letter. Federal law and Coast Guard policy restrict individuals, associations, partnerships, or corporations from falsely representing that their projects, businesses, or products have been in any way endorsed, authorized, or approved by the Coast Guard

My business serves Coast Guard members and their families Can I use the name Coast Guard in my business name?

No Coast Guard trademarks, alone or with other letters or words, can be used as a business name.

Who needs a license?

Anyone wishing to use a Coast Guard trademark in association with their goods and/or services must obtain a license.

I am a part of the Coast Guard family and would like to use the Coast Guard emblem on a noncommercial personal use item. What are my restrictions?

Coast Guard members and their immediate families have an implied limited license to use the Coast Guard Emblem for noncommercial personal uses such as on printed materials, clothing, literature, briefings, coins and food. The Coast Guard Emblem shall not be used in a manner or context that reflects unfavorably upon the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or any of its components or which will disparage the Coast Guard, DHS or the United States Government. Designs containing the Coast Guard Emblem must be approved by CG-09223.

If your product is for personal use and not commercial retail, no further action is necessary.

What is the penalty for not getting a license?

All products must be approved by the United States Coast Guard trademark and licensing office in accordance with federal law 14 U.S.C. § 639. Failure to obtain a license or approval would be grounds for the seizure of all non-approved merchandise bearing USCG marks. It also could result in legal action.

May I incorporate Coast Guard branding my logo, or a significant part of my branding efforts?

No. Incorporating Coast Guard trademarks into that of another individual, association, partnership, or corporation may lead the public to believe that it is endorsed, authorized, or approved by the Coast Guard. Federal law prohibits this kind of endorsement of a private activity even when its mission is patriotic in nature or otherwise is “positive” for the Coast Guard.

When do I need to use a disclaimer?

Use of a disclaimer is appropriate in instances where Cost Guard insignias are used to describe goods or services, or otherwise as a reference. In such cases, the following disclaimer must be posted in a prominent place; 'Neither the United States Coast Guard nor any other component of the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Defense has approved, endorsed, or authorized this product (or promotion, or service, or activity)'

Who is responsible for the program?

Commandant (CG-09223)
Trademark Licensing Program
U.S. Coast Guard
2703 Martin Luther King Ave SE Stop 7501
Washington, D.C. 20593-7103

How can I obtain a trademark license?

If you are interested in obtaining a license with the U.S. Coast Guard, you need a licensing application. An application can be downloaded (Application). Please be sure to follow the steps addressed in the application or your application will be delayed.

Can political candidates use Coast Guard trademarks on their campaign materials?

Political candidates may accurately state they have served their country and address questions related to their military service. However, they are not authorized use of any Coast Guard trademarks in their campaign materials. The use of the Coast Guard emblem, mark or name on any printed material would falsely mislead the audience to believe the service endorses the political candidate or party.

Can non-Federal colleges, universities and other learning institutions use Coast Guard trademarks in order to promote and advertise their military programs?

No, they may not. Coast Guard policy and federal regulations 14 U.S.C. § 639 prohibit use of Coast Guard markings and symbols in ways that imply endorsement of a commercial entity or activity, regardless of non-profit status.

We have a contract with the United States Coast Guard. Can we use Coast Guard trademarks or images in our marketing material?

No. You may factually list or state that your company does business with the United States Coast Guard, but you are not authorized to use Coast Guard trademarks in your marketing materials. Using the Coast Guard trademarks in corporate marketing material would imply endorsement of a commercial entity or activity. Please see the Coast Guard’s advertising policy regarding the use of Coast Guard images

Where can I find the contact info for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard and DHS Trademark Licensing Offices?

Please visit DOD and DHS Websites for a full listing of trademark licensing contacts.

Does my license ever expire?

The Coast Guard established a formal trademark and licensing program in 2010. If you have a permission letter that dates before this time, you will need to reapply and obtain a license.

All license agreements have different terms and conditions. The term will define the relevant time period during which the license agreement shall remain in effect.

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Last Modified 7/21/2014