Baewatch laying out at Lei Out last year Photo Cred:NKolakovic
Are you worried about following USAU's uniform requirements? Steering clear of trademark infringements? Complying with your school's logo licensing?
Our Custom Crew is super knowledgeable about all things related to ultimate uniforms. We took that expertise and put together some good rules of thumb to make sure you don't violate any rules.
Or start an order and let us worry about following the rules with your team gear for you!
Complying with USA Ultimate Uniform Requirements
With custom jerseys, you can print 99% of pretty much anything you can imagine. But let’s take a second to look at that 1% you can’t, or at least shouldn’t, print.
Did you know that nationally competitive teams are required to have numbers on both the front AND back of their jerseys?
Ordering jerseys for the USAU college and club series is a little different than ordering for Potlatch or Poultry Days. Most sports organizations, including USAU, reserve the right to alter jerseys should they deem them to be inappropriate for a sanctioned program or event.
Grounds for alterations by USAU include but are not limited to:
Discriminatory language or graphics
If you don't follow these rules, your team may be disqualified. Here's how to avoid that.
While these rules are really only enforced at the higher competitive echelons of the game (for now), all teams competing in USAU sanctioned tournaments are encouraged to follow suit.
Avoiding Trademark Infringement
A lot of teams take jersey inspiration from movies, television, and other pop culture references. While these designs are made in good faith, they can be susceptible to trademark and copyright restrictions.
Legally speaking, if you copy-paste the Coca-Cola logo from the internet and print it on your jersey, Coke could come in and ask that you either stop wearing their logo on your jerseys or force you to pay them for use of their trademark.
No one wants to deal with legal action from a big company. Ultimate was born in the counterculture after all, and our sport has a deep-seated distrust of authority.
Luckily for us, parody is thoroughly protected under our 1st Amendment right to free speech. Even better: the protection of parody extends all the way to something as silly and awesome as the logo on an ultimate jersey.
Parody is the deliberate and exaggerated imitation of a design for comic effect.
That means that if you want to use a major brand's logo as an influence, you have to alter it in a way that makes it clear that you're doing it for comic effect.
Here are some of our favorite designs that have parodied big brands:
When you think about it, the rules around trademarks and parody are actually kind of a benefit for us ultimate players.
It's not very cool to copy-paste a big company's logo from the internet and paste it on your chest.
What IS cool is taking a big company's logo, making silly pun that reinforces the culture of fun and awesomeness in ultimate, and making a logo out of that!
We love clever and wacky spinoffs of well-known pop culture references. We also love not getting sued. If you're worried your design isn't parody enough, our artists can help you get there!
Licensing Your School Logo
Some schools require their club sports teams to use the official school logo on all team apparel in order to qualify for funding.
Of course, colleges and universities ALSO have very specific and restrictive guidelines for licensing and using their officials logos, which just makes it more difficult to order gear.
If you're in this group, and you want to go with and ultimate apparel company, make sure to ask ahead of time if they are willing and able to help you license your school's logo.
Luckily, we're experts in working with schools to license their logos! We've worked with Pitt, Michigan, Florida, and a bunch of other schools.
Oregon Fugue using Oregon's trademark "O" on their gear
Simply let us know up front that you need (or want!) to license your school's official logo. We'll take the work off of your hands as much as possible, and make sure that your jerseys comply with your school's official guidelines.
Get more expert tips for ordering team gear with the guide below.
Or, if you've got everything you need, let's get you started on creating some hot new team gear for your crew!
Over To You
Did we miss anything? Let us know below! Or if you're unsure if your team design is riding the line between original and copyright infringement, just ask us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!