New College, Oxford is trying to trademark its name - ahead of a similar registration bid by the newly created, private New College of the Humanities.
The 632-year-old Oxford institution has submitted its bid to protect its brand to the Intellectual Property Office.
The New College of the Humanities, launched by philosopher AC Grayling, has also submitted its own bid to trademark its name.
The Intellectual Property Office says a decision on the Oxford bid is imminent.
But if the New College of the Humanities trademark bid reaches the public consultation stage, it is believed that New College, Oxford is considering opposing the registering of the name.
The New College of the Humanities (NCH), which plans to admit students in London, rejected any suggestion of confusion between the two institutions.
"We are talking to New College, Oxford, but we don't think there is any confusion between New College of the Humanities and New College, Oxford, given their great heritage and NCH's distinct positioning around humanities and social sciences," said a spokeswoman.
The application from New College, Oxford is for protection of its full name - as the term "New College" is too broad to register separately. There are already several other "New Colleges" - such as New College, Swindon and New College, Nottingham.
Among the issues which will have to be considered by the Intellectual Property Office will be whether the New College of the Humanities, as a brand name, is sufficiently specific without its name including any location.
The New College, Oxford trademark application covers a wide range of uses.
As well as education services and published materials, the name would be protected for use on products including cufflinks, tankards, waste bins and umbrellas.
The Intellectual Property Office says that a decision on whether to accept the trademark application is imminent.
If successful, it would join a range of other universities which have already protected their brand names and logos.
Oxford University has already trademarked itself, in a form so comprehensive that it covers its use for underwear, hair lotions, bleaching preparations, fat removing agents and Christmas trees.
The trademarking for University College London makes sure that no-one can misuse its name in areas including preparations for destroying vermin, massage apparatus and clothing for animals.
The New College of the Humanities is a private institution being set up in London which will charge up to £18,000 per year in tuition fees.
It has already faced questions about how it is described - as it does not have official university or university college status. The website describes itself as offering a "university-level education".
Students at the college will be prepared for University of London degrees.
The high level of fees, announced at a time of protests over tuition fees, made the college and its founders a target for anti-cuts protesters.
A flare was released by protesters during a talk by Professor Grayling at a London bookshop.