IT’S FLASHBACK TIME.
Let’s revisit, if you will, one of the most special and overwhelming times in a young person’s life: the tour de universities. Running around the country through various hallowed halls of learning is enough of a whirlwind, to be sure, but the most daunting part of it all has to be the variables involved. You might be able to briefly try each school on for size, but you won’t know if it truly fits until it’s been bought and paid for (first-semester transfers can testify to this).
Fortunately, when it comes to college apparel, the try-on test is a little less abstract. And for distributors of said college apparel, it’s even easier. The rules involved in licensing these items are not governed by mercurial conditions; there are defined regulations to be followed. However, if you study up, there’s a pretty good chance you can find a perfect fit to last you four years and beyond.
Getting the Trademark License
“We do care very much about our licenses and our licensees,” affirmed Joe Ebaugh, director of trademark licensing at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md. “We spend time enforcing the marketplace for unlicensed product.” Because of the likelihood of trademark infringement, most universities guard their names and logos similarly, and the system of checks and balances exists all the way down the supply chain.
In an interview for Promo Marketing’s recent sports marketing feature (April 2009), Kippie Helzel, vice president of sales for Erie, Pennsylvania-based CPS/Keystone, touched upon the licensing aspect of the collegiate market from the supplier perspective. “We have a great customer in Atlanta that got the licenses for three universities,” she said. “They had to send us a lengthy document to sign in order to be able to produce water bottles for them, to acknowledge the license was proprietary, that we couldn’t make changes to the logo.”