Members of the Knights of Columbus should understand the policies governing the use of the name, emblems, logos, and other intellectual property of the Knights of Columbus.
1. The Board of Directors Controls the Marks
Subordinate Units do not own the name, emblem or other trademarks (collectively “the Marks”) or other intellectual property of the Knights of Columbus. Nor do individual members, whether First Degree Knights or Supreme Officers. The Marks belong to the Knights of Columbus and are under the control of the Board of Directors.
Members are permitted to use the Marks in accord with the terms described in this policy and those found on the Officers’ Desk Reference.
2. Who Can (and Cannot) Use the Marks?
Although the Board of Directors maintains exclusive control over the Order’s intellectual property, the Board has granted certain entities limited permission to use the Marks. Below is a summary list of individuals and entities who can and cannot use the Marks.
3. Subordinate Units Can Use the Marks for “Ordinary Fraternal Use”
The Board of Directors has granted a limited license to Subordinate Units to use the Marks, including its name and emblem, in connection with any activity that constitutes “Ordinary Fraternal Use.” The official license for such use may be found here.
“Ordinary Fraternal Use” means the use of the Marks in connection with activities or programs approved by a Subordinate Unit or by the Supreme Council to accomplish one or more of the following objectives:
“Ordinary Fraternal Use” of the Marks includes, but is not limited to, the publications, advertisements, and correspondence used by a Subordinate Unit to promote the fraternal and charitable mission of the Knights of Columbus, such as:
Use of the Marks to promote any private business interest, personal gain, or political cause never constitutes “Ordinary Fraternal Use,” even if the activity is expected to generate proceeds that would be used for charitable purposes. Such unauthorized use of the Marks may be ground for suspension or expulsion from the Order, pursuant to Section 162.11 of the Laws of the Knights of Columbus.
“Ordinary Fraternal Use” extends to and is limited by the geographic boundaries of the Subordinate Unit and the Subordinate Unit’s own membership. For example, a local council may use the Order’s Marks within its own jurisdiction (i.e., local council members and the parish(es) directly served by that local council). Similarly, the Ordinary Fraternal Use of the Marks by a State Council extends to and is limited by the geographic boundaries of that State Council and members of councils within that state.
When a Subordinate Unit uses the Marks for any activity that constitutes “Ordinary Fraternal Use,” the Subordinate Unit is required to include its name, number (if applicable), and geographic location. This information should be located within close proximity to the Marks to make clear that the activity is sponsored by the Subordinate Unit, and not the Supreme Council.
4. Reporting Improper or Unauthorized Uses of the Order’s Intellectual Property
Knights of Columbus vigorously protects its intellectual property from unauthorized use. If you become aware of an improper or unauthorized use of the Order’s Marks or other intellectual property, report it immediately to your state officers and the Name and Emblem Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, there is a reporting form available on the Brand Assets page of the Knights of Columbus website.
5. Additional Information on the Order’s Name and Emblem Policy
Further information regarding the name and emblem policies of the Knights of Columbus is available on the Officers’ Desk Reference (www.kofc.org/oo) under “Name and Emblem.”
REPORT UNAUTHORIZED USE
Knights of Columbus vigorously protects its intellectual property from unauthorized use. If you become aware of an improper or unauthorized use of the Order’s Marks or other intellectual property please report it immediately to your state officers and the Name and Emblem Committee at email@example.com. We ask you to provide your contact information so that we may contact you for additional information. Your information will remain confidential and will not be shared with any third party.