County Educators’ Authority to Grant Use of 4-H Name and Emblem
The 4-H Name and emblem is a federal trade mark, protected by 18 USC 707. Ultimately, the responsibility for protection of the trademark is the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. In practicality, the responsibility lies in the hands of the county educator and State 4-H leaders. In Ohio, we have taken steps to protect the name and emblem by setting standards for each club to follow and certifying their willingness to follow the guidelines. Ohio 4-H club charters are granted to clubs that are in compliance. County educators have the responsibility to protect the use of the name and emblem within their county. Educators have oversight to the use of the name and emblem for fundraising activities and promotions that are held in the name of 4-H by clubs, committees, organizations, and the business community.
- A 4-H club is conducting a sale of 4-H T-shirts with the 4-H emblem and the county name printed on the front. Since the sale of the T-shirts is directed at members within the county, the educator can authorize the club to use the name and emblem. The county educator will provide the club with information on the proper use and display of the 4-H name and emblem.
- A 4-H Advisory Committee is selling 4-H calendars and is planning on selling them at various festivals, and stores in the North Central Region. Since the sale of the calendars is multi-county, the decision making is transferred to the state 4-H office. All groups that are fundraising and using the name and/or emblem of 4-H beyond a single county must complete the Ohio 4-H Name and Emblem and Fundraising Request Form and submit it to the state 4-H office for authorization to use the name and emblem.
- Sally’s Fabric Shop wants to hold 4-H Days at their store .They plan to advertise the event in the local newspaper. They will provide the public free educational seminars and a 10% discount on all supplies for 4-H club members. In this example, Sally’s Fabric Shop is conducting a promotional event at their local store. The educator needs to decide whether 4-H gains from the event, or whether the fabric shop is just interested in increasing their profits. The county educator is empowered to make the decision since the use of the 4-H name is limited to one shop in their county.(If Sally’s Fabric Shops were a chain of shops in multi counties and planning promotions inseveral counties, then the decision making is transferred to the state 4-H office.)
Things to remember:
• The 4-H name and emblem shall not be used to imply endorsement of commercial firms, products or services.
• Commercial firms, vendors, organizations and their products may not profit from the use of the name and emblem, UNLESS there is agreed-upon benefit with 4-H and it is clear that the 4-H educational program will benefit from this agreement.
• Authority to grant permission for the use of the name and emblem is granted by:
- The county 4-H educator (or county eirector if there isn’t an educator) if the fundraiser or promotion is limited to a single county.
- Granting use of the name and emblem beyond a single county (i.e. multicounty) is the responsibility of the state 4-H office).
- Granting use of the name and emblem beyond Ohio is the responsibility of National 4-H Headquarters.
• When approving fundraising/promotion along with the use of the name and emblem, consider how the group is planning to market their product. Advertising through radio, newspaper advertisements, or the internet may move the fundraising beyond your county boundaries and beyond your authority to grant permission.
• 4-H groups wishing to market their product through a second-party company that advertises their product need to check on the advertising coverage zone.
• Fundraising or use of the name and emblem for promotions beyond a single county must be approved at the state or national level. Applications may be made by submitting samples of their products along with the Ohio 4-H Name and Emblem and Fundraising Request Form
• A sample letter is available for educators to use to grant permission to use the name and emblem for promotions and fundraising
Reviewed by Tom Archer – March 2015
Updated – December 2016