TRADEMARK AND LICENSING

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a trademark?

As defined by the US Patents & Trademarks Office, "a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others." A trademark need not be registered in order to have protectable rights to it, simply by using or displaying a mark acquires automatic trademark rights to the owner.

What are the benefits of a licensing program?

A licensing program exists to protect the name and marks of the University and to enhance the image of the University through the signing of licensing agreements authorizing the use of the marks on high quality and tasteful merchandise. It is also the responsibility of the office to insure that the University receives the appropriate commercial value for the use of its trademarks.

What is a trademark license?

A license is a written legal agreement between the owner of the trademark (licensor) and a manufacturer/vendor (licensee). The licensor grants permission to the licensee to affix the licensor's trademark(s) on a product(s). This license must be in place before use of the marks.

Who must be licensed?

Anyone or any business/organization wishing to use the University's trademarks or verbiage on any product must have a license before offering the product/goods for sale. This also includes sale to University departments, campus organizations and student recognized organizations. Premiums, promotions and advertising are included as well.

How do you apply for a license for a University of South Carolina through/with CLC?

Obtaining a license through CLC for USC is a process that will require a great deal of thought, research, and commitment. With more than 500 companies already licensed to produce a wide range of products, only those companies that can exhibit a commitment to the collegiate market, have established production and distribution capabilities, and/or offer a new or unique product will likely be granted the opportunity to obtain a license. CLC has prepared an extensive overview document that details all aspects of the licensing application process as well as the financial and resource commitments necessary to successfully maintaining a collegiate license. Prospective licensees are strongly encouraged to complete the Contact Form located at www.clc.com, which will allow you to download comprehensive licensing application information. This document, combined with this FAQ section and CLC's FAQ section, should answer most of the questions that you may have about the licensing process. Additional questions can be directed via email to applications@clc.com.

The Collegiate Licensing Company
290 Interstate North: Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30339
Phone: (770) 956-0520
Fax: (770) 955-4491

We are interested in becoming licensed. What are the costs (cost) of becoming licensed?

CLC has prepared an extensive overview document that details all aspects of the licensing application process for colleges and universities in the CLC Consortium, including a summary of an applicant's anticipated first-year costs. Prospective college/university licensees are strongly encouraged to complete the Contact Form located under the Licensing Info -> Application Process link from www.clc.com, which will allow you to download comprehensive licensing application information. This document, combined with this FAQ section and CLC's FAQ section, should answer most of the questions that you may have about the licensing process. Additional questions can be directed via email to applications@clc.com.

How long does it take to complete the licensing process?

The application process can take differing amounts of time to complete depending on the license type being sought. Because the Restricted application process is streamlined, it is generally much faster. The Standard and Local application processes take varying amounts of time to complete based on the number of institutions being sought. Generally, the fewer the number of institutions requested, the more expeditious the application process. As such, CLC highly recommends that you only apply for institutions that you are prepared to maximize in the near term. CLC strongly recommends that applicants not pursue detailed sales discussions or trade show planning until they fully complete the licensing process. In the spirit of fairness, we cannot accommodate "rush" requests as all requests are treated equally and on a first-come, first-served basis.

We are a retailer interested in carrying USC products. Do we need to obtain a license in order to offer collegiate product?

If your company only sells finished products and does not produce, alter, repackage, or finish collegiate products in any way, you are not required to have a license. Retailers should ensure that the collegiate products they purchase are produced by licensed vendors as discerning consumers will not purchase products that appear counterfeit or unlicensed. Retailers can use The Collegiate Exchange (http://www.thecollegiateexchange.com/tce/buyersguide?cmd=home) web site to locate products.

The current USC licensee lists can be found on this web site. Retailers that also screen or embroider their own products or source the products from an associated company must obtain a collegiate license.

What kinds of products can not be licensed?

Weapons/firearms, tobacco products or alcoholic beverages are not appropriate items for licensing. Other products will be considered; however, the University has the right to decline any item. The names and marks of The University will not be used in promotion of alcohol, tobacco and/or "recreational" drug products.

University logos cannot be used to endorse or promote a private group or business unless authorized by a formal contract or sponsorship agreement. Private companies are allowed to use University logos only after entering into a promotion specific agreement with the University, Athletic Department or the Collegiate Licensing Company on our behalf.

Are Recognized Student Organizations or campus departments required to obtain permission to use the University names/marks/logos on items used as giveaways, internal group fundraisers or for internal use (shirts for staff, plaques, etc.)?

In order for the University to maintain and protect its value, a licensed vendor must be
used. If your order will include a University mark in the design, it must be purchased by an official licensee. If you wish to use someone that is not on the list, please contact the Trademark and Licensing for assistance.

May students, faculty, staff, alumni or fans use University marks on personal Web sites?

Yes, this is permissible as long as no items are being sold and the site is used to support the University in a positive manner. Permission must first be obtained by filling out a
Web Permission Form.

What if my item is a publication or brochure that I wish to use the University's trademarks on?

The trademarks of the University may not be used on publications, brochures, advertising or miscellaneous print material without permission from the University. Please contact Trademark and Licensing directly for more information.

Are any sales exempt from royalties?

Licensed vendors do not pay royalties on products being sold to a campus department for internal use and paid for out of a department budget. There also may be situations where a campus organization order will be royalty-free. If you have questions, feel free to contact the Trademark and Licensing Office directly. Sales to the University Bookstore or Stadium Store are not exempt from royalties.

How can I tell if a product is officially-licensed?

Look for the Officially-Licensed Collegiate label or hologram. This label assures you that the merchandise on which they are affixed has been approved for sale by the University and CLC. For more information about the CLC Hologram program, please go to Logos On Demand.

How would someone obtain images or videotape of former athletes, events or facilities?

The University of South Carolina's licensing rights for athletic copyrighted video, film and still images, as well as its trademarks for broadcast and non-broadcast usage, is exclusively represented by Collegiate Images. For more information about Collegiate Images, please go to Collegiate Images.

May a business, corporation or outside entity use the name or marks of the University in their name or as interior design?

The University's policy does not allow its marks to be used for commercial or promotional advertising purposes without prior approval; this approval is granted based upon each situation. The University's name and/or marks may also not be used in any way that could state or imply an endorsement. The marks/names/logos may not be used as part of a business name or within the interior design of a business and its building and/or location without prior approval. Approval is not always granted for any of the above uses.

University logos cannot be used to endorse or promote a private group or business unless authorized by a formal contract or sponsorship agreement. Private companies are allowed to use University logos only after entering into a promotion specific agreement with the University, Athletic Department or the Collegiate Licensing Company on our behalf.

For more information on this subject please contact the Trademark and Licensing Office directly.

I'm a newspaper reporter. Can I take pictures on campus?

If taking pictures inside a classroom or office, please contact Media Relations at 803-777-5400 and receive permission to do so before taking any pictures.

If you did not find your answer in our FAQ, please contact the Trademark and Licensing Office with your specific question.

Columbia, SC 29208 • 803-777.7478 • kenc@mailbox.sc.edu
© University of South Carolina Board of Trustees