Organizational Psychology * 05 Syllabus
The Name Game
"Faculty, students, and organizations throughout the University have used Harvard's name as though they owned it. A new policy announced February 24 explains that they do not and may not. Henceforth, anyone wishing to attach the words "Harvard," "Harvard University," "President and Fellows of Harvard College," or Harvard's "Veritas" shield to a group, conference, study, research project, or cookbook has to get permission of the provost. Moreover, if there's money to be made, the wealth may need to be shared.
"The intent of the policy is to ensure that any undertaking that uses the name of the University or of a school does so only when that use is accurate and appropriate, and where there is institutional accountability," says University provost Harvey V. Fineberg '67, M.D. '71, M.P.P. '72, Ph.D. '80. "In general, the individual work of one or several faculty members should not be labeled in a manner that suggests that there is institutional sponsorship or endorsement." Moreover, the policy states, "The University and its members have a responsibility to protect its assets by seeking a fair share of the economic value that the use of the Harvard name produces."
Harvard Medical School, for example, has entered into a partnership with publisher Simon & Schuster rumored to be worth millions to the school. The partnership will produce mostly books aimed at ordinary citizens, but also newsletters, audio tapes, computer programs, and Internet sites, some of which will be for medical professionals. Works will be developed by the medical school only, or jointly with the publisher.
The medical school's partnership agreement was reached a year and a half before the new policy about the use of Harvard's name went into effect, yet were the deal being done today, it would unfold no differently, says Robert B. Donin, deputy general counsel.
"Simon & Schuster has the exclusive right to publish consumer media that bear the Harvard Medical School name," says Dean Sanderson, general manager and publishing director of the school's Harvard Medical Publications office. "Faculty members may publish books on their own, and they are free to identify themselves as professors at the school, but they may not call their work the Harvard Medical School Guide to X.
"So far we have agreements with Simon & Schuster for five books," says Sanderson. "The first will be the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, due out in late 1999. Dr. Anthony Komaroff, our editor and publisher, is editing the book, which has more than 40 faculty contributors. By partnering with a large publisher, we gain a lot of expertise from them and together can develop works for the market in a more systematic fashion. We know a lot about medicine, they know a lot about publishing."
The new policy specifies that a school may authorize outsiders to use its own name (e.g., "Harvard Medical School") with the approval of the dean of the school, except that the provost must also approve when the arrangement involves "the sale or distribution, for financial consideration, of a product or service."
"The president's office traditionally has received a percentage of patent royalties," says Donin. "The new policy extends the possibility of royalty-sharing beyond patentable items to copyrightable ones." The policy states: "'Harvard University' is one of the most widely known and respected trademarks of any kind. The commercial fruits of this fortunate reputation are largely attributable to the contributions of many generations of faculty, students and staff, and therefore should be allocated for the benefit of the University as a whole."
With just that in mind, although the new policy had not yet been formulated, "Daniel Tosteson, then dean of the medical school, and President Neil L. Rudenstine agreed that a percentage of the proceeds from the partnership with Simon & Schuster would go to the president's office," says Donin.
What applies to schools and groups within the University governs individual faculty members as well. Suppose two or three star professors develop a curriculum in a certain field and a commercial publisher wants to issue a CD-ROM of it and send the stars the royalties. "The faculty members developed the curriculum on their own, sitting in their Harvard offices, but not using any unusual University resources or sponsored-research funds," says Donin. "They own the copyright, just as they always have for the books they've written. They may authorize someone to publish the curriculum. And they may keep all the proceeds. But should they wish the publication to be called the Harvard Guide to Hittite Studies, they have to get approval from the provost.
"The provost would probably say no, it is not appropriate to call this work the Harvard Guide to Hittite Studies because, although it meets the University's quality standards, it is your individual work and not the product of a broad University effort. The provost and the deans have said that there should be a strong presumption against the use of 'Harvard' in the title of academic works. In the unusual case where the provost decided it was okay to call the work the Harvard Guide to Hittite Studies, the provost would say that since part of the book's appeal will be Harvard's name in the title, you must share any revenue with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the University. For the time being, the University's share in copyright revenues will be determined on a project-by-project basis."
Students may no longer attach Harvard's name to whatever organized activity they have cooked up, as they have done routinely. Recently, for example, students from the Law School and the Business School wished to form a group called the Harvard Entrepreneurial Network and seek financial support from people outside the University. "We had to spend quite some time getting them to understand why they couldn't do that," says Sarah E. Wald, an assistant provost. "People think, if I'm here legitimately at Harvard, of course I can call anything I do the 'Harvard X.'"
Fineberg says that he does not expect to undertake a University-wide effort to rename existing projects, although some of them might need a name change.
The policy exempts from the approval process routine items such as new stationery, business cards, or websites in schools and other units for whom the use of the name has been approved.
"We are in the weird position of wanting to take advantage of the value of the Harvard name," says Wald, "but needing to limit its use because it can be so easily devalued." When a Japanese food company markets a line of Harvard cookies, the University can do or may choose to do little about it (see "Harvard Eggs? Protecting the Name," January-February, page 72). "But when it comes to the use of the name by people within the University," says Wald, "clearly, we have control over that."
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