Collegiate Apparel Licensing
If you've ever had an idea for a product that would showcase your HBCU, you'll need two things: collegiate licensing and a marketing plan. To produce anything featuring a collegiate trademark, you must acquire a license in order to use it. Without one, you'll be illegally manufacturing products that infringe upon a school, and we don't want that! To avoid legal troubles, the best plan of action is to first contact the school you'd like to include in your products. For the sake of this article, let's suppose you're going to contact Grambling State University about using their trademark logos in your new apparel line. You contact Grambling, specifically stating your licensure inquiry, and they point you to their licensing agent. Most institutions use licensing agents who handle all of their licensing and are responsible for interfacing with the colleges and respective licensees, retailers, and manufacturers. Grambling happens to use IMG College Licensing as their agent, as do many other colleges.
You would then submit a license application to IMG College Licensing to begin the process. Before you get started, it is important to note that this process can be a long one, ranging from a month to a year. You will be severely disappointed if you expect to receive a license in a few weeks. In the application, you will agree to pay royalties to the institution(s) and complete the Corporate Responsibility and Supply Chain Compliance Questionnaire. This includes the Factory/Supplier Information Form. Essentially, this ensures that you will have honest, responsible manufacturing practices. With this application, you must also provide a sample of each product you intend to use the trademark on. This allows the agent to determine if your products will be a viable avenue for the institution. At the end of the day, the institution will want to check off on what you're creating to ensure your products do not defame or put a negative light on them. If all goes well in this initial phase, then your application can move forward.
After providing all the information the licensing agent needs to grant your collegiate apparel licensing, you'll need to purchase "Officially Licensed Collegiate Products" (OLCP) hologram labels. On the t-shirts you've purchased through your HBCU's bookstore, have you noticed the shiny, silver sticker on the hang tag? That's an OLCP, verifying the authenticity of the product. Always look for these when shopping so you never do business with someone who could be profiting via infringement. Plus, having OLCP automatically validates your products, enticing buyers to trust your brand.
At Tradition, we only offer officially licensed collegiate apparel, so you know our gear is 100% legit. If your HBCU isn't in our offerings, we may already be in contact with them, but are still in the licensure process. Remember, these things take time, and we work hard to provide options for as many institutions as we can! If you're curious about the collegiate licensure process or want to know where we stand with your HBCU, please contact us and we'd be glad to discuss more.