I have seen several programs and libraries partially named after a school, e.g.:

To name a library or program partially after a school, what authorization(s) does one need, if any?

I am mostly interested in the United States but curious about other countries as well.

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    Sorry, I don't get it. Those are the people who know. You should just ask them. It's nice to have things out in the open but, unless the authorities object, you can always share the information once you have it! – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 16 '15 at 0:49
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    My guess is no one's ever tried to name a package after a school with which they have no affiliation. People tend to like to promote their own school, not someone else's. – dbliss Aug 16 '15 at 1:47

Berkeley and Stanford are places, not - institutes. So I guess no permission is needed (unless from the respective mayors). (However, my guess might be wildly wrong for the US law.)

See also https://perso.uclouvain.be/vincent.blondel/research/louvain.html:

is now known as the "Louvain method" because [...] the method was devised when they all were at the Université catholique de Louvain.

When one wants to use an institute's name (e.g. "MIT", as in one of your examples) - at least an informal consent may be needed. (But in some places rules may be much stricter - and it is impossible to make a general answer.)

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  • Thanks. Who can give such informal consents? – Franck Dernoncourt Aug 15 '15 at 19:26
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    @FranckDernoncourt I would try asking at the technology transfer office, and dean. – Piotr Migdal Aug 15 '15 at 19:30

An university, like any other corporate entity, generally has both the inclination and legal authority to regulate the use of its name, particularly when somebody is implying that something is officially endorsed by that entity.

There is another usage, however, that is harder to regulate, which is when a name is used in a descriptive manner. For example, the MIT Scheme implementation of the Scheme programming language was not originally named MIT Scheme: it was just Scheme, and when other implementations were created, the community started using the prefix "MIT" to distinguish it, and that ended up getting imported into the official name. When something like this happens, it's hard (and generally pointless) to fight common usage.

So should something like the "Berkeley Entity Resolution System" be understood to be claiming the name "Berkeley," or should it be better understood as a short way of saying "the Entity Resolution System developed by Berkeley"? Lawyers might well tussle over this, depending on the particulars of a case, but academics in many cases simply seem to proceed assuming the second and often find no objection from their institutions.

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