Good Question: Is Rochester's logo for sale?

March 04, 2019 07:57 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- You may be seeing the City of Rochester's logo all over the place.

People are making money off of it, using it to sell mugs, T-shirts, and even tattoos.


Pat Taney was asked about that in this week's Good Question report.

The Flower City logo is trademarked by the city, and the city is run by you, the taxpayer.

"Can anyone use this taxpayer-owned trademark to make money? And if so, what are the rules for them to do so?" asked Chuck Cook.

Before we get to the answer, here's a history lesson:

The logo was designed sometime in the 1970s.  
"The city logo was created with the intent of conveying our history," said Justin Roj, director of city communications and special events.

History as a flour mill town in the 1800s.

 "We were a mill town in High Falls, and the milling of grains into flour -- hence the flour city," said Roj.

Years later, we adopted the nickname of "Flower City," as in lilacs.

"The logo reflects both. It reflects millstones grounding flour, as well as a flower in the common sense," Roj said.

A few years ago you only saw it on city buildings and flags, but today it's gaining popularity.

"Over time we've seen others interested in using the logo as well," said Roj.

The most noted is artist Mike Dellaria, who owns Dellarious Studios. He makes shirts, mugs, stickers, and more.

So, back to our question.

Taney: Can anyone use the logo for commercial purposes?

Roj: Anyone can use the logo for commercial purposes as long as they register the trademark with us.

You can do that on the city's website.

The registry was launched the first of the year.

"It's about $100 to register to make use of the logo," Roj said.

Taney: Where does that money go? 

Roj: That money goes into the general fund and is there to offset other city expenses.

The applicant must also explain how the logo will be used.

Roj calls it an easy process.

"The fee is nominal for a reason which is we want to encourage support of the logo and use of the logo. Really why we have the program is to make sure we protect the trademark so that it is not used inappropriately or against the  city's interests," he said.

So far the city has issued 13 licenses, and it just launched the registry months ago.

The city does not get any royalties on sales, just that $100 licensing fee.

Ithaca Brewing is one of the latest applicants. Roj says it will launch a beer using the logo during the Lilac Festival.

As for tattoos, you do not need a license for personal use. A license is only required when you plan to sell something.

If you have a question you'd like Pat to answer, send him an email at


Pat Taney

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