The Air Force Trademark and Licensing Program Office gets many questions concerning the rules of usage from servicemembers, their families, veterans and those wishing to make products for commercial sale.
The Department of the Air Force Seal can only be used for official business as specified in Air Force Manual 33-326 Attachment 2. Airmen may use the Air Force Emblem and Air Force Symbol on coins, printed materials, web sites and briefings. Usage of the Army Air Corps symbol (Hap Arnold Wings) is conservative in nature as the Air Force Symbol was designated as the Air Force's official symbol in 2004. When these marks are used, the Air Force Trademark and Licensing Office must approve the design. Any alteration or misuse of these symbols jeopardizes the Air Force's trademark rights.
Department of Defense employees, their immediate families, and veterans have an implied license to use the Air Force symbol on personal items such as welcome home T-shirts, cakes, personalized candies, crafts and custom-made gifts. These items must not be created for sale, advertising or potential endorsements. Use of the Emblem and Air Force Symbol must adhere to guidelines at this site. Designs must still be approved by the Air Force Trademark and Licensing Program Office. When requesting companies to make custom orders with the Emblem or Air Force Symbol, the customer must inform the company that they do not have permission to replicate the product for mass distribution. Only the item(s) requested by the Airman, family member or veteran are authorized for them to make. Some companies savvy in trademark law may request official permission to create the product. If so, e-mail your request to email@example.com. For a list of vendors already approved and licensed click here.
Commanders may use the Air Force Symbol on "perishable" products and those involving limited expense, such as printed materials, clothing, coins, etc. Approved guidelines for using the symbol on base gates and water towers is available. Commanders retain discretion to decide how the symbol is used in their organizations consistent with these guidelines.
The U.S. Air Force Symbol is a registered trademark. The Army Air Corps symbol (Hap Arnold Wings) and Air Force Emblem are two of many Air Force trademarks. Permission to use them for commercial use, in marketing materials, in advertising (free or paid), or by any non-federal organization/activity, including non-profit organizations, is required. The use of these trademarks for commercial purposes, including reproduction on merchandise, is expressly prohibited unless the producer completes a license agreement with the Air Force. Use is governed by the terms of the agreement.
Department of Defense and Air Force policy and regulations prohibit use of official Air Force markings, insignia and symbols in ways that imply endorsement of a commercial or non-federal entity or activity. (See CFR Part 2635.702 and the DoD Joint Ethics Regulation, DoD 5500.7-R.) This applies to all Air Force markings and symbols, including the Air Force Symbol.
The Air Force retains the right to withhold licensing of certain products, which includes, but is not limited to, alcohol, tobacco, drug or smoking paraphernalia, firearms, weapons of any type, undergarments, products sexual in nature, food or drink items (consumables), cosmetics (to include fragrances, soaps and hair products), medical devices or products contrary to the good order and discipline of the USAF.
Department of Defense employees, their families and veterans are required to get a license if they have a company, small business or hobby that intends to sell products bearing any Air Force trademark.
It is everyone's responsibility to abide by and protect trademarks. If you see misuse within the Air Force, on the internet or at a place of commerce please report the violation.