This year’s profits represent a 41 percent increase from the 2001 total, when the University made $157,000 on trademarks and logos.
Princeton currently has 122 royalty-paying licenses, Cliatt said. These allow manufacturers to use University trademarks and logos — everything from the Princeton shield to the image of Nassau Hall — on anything from baseball caps to sweatshirts to key chains.
The Office of Communications works in conjunction with the University’s Trademark Licensing Program and other University offices to monitor the use of Princeton’s name. The University has a standard licensing agreement that it uses with companies wishing to use the Princeton logo on their products.
As the only Ivy League school named after its location, the University is also in a unique position in terms of copyright protection. “Princeton University” and “Princeton” have both been registered trademarks since 1991.
University policy requires manufacturers to submit depictions of all uses of the University trademark and samples of artwork and products for approval before going forth with public distribution. Prohibited items listed in the agreement include alcoholic beverages, food products, items of a political or religious nature and products in “bad taste.”
The University’s oversight of licensing is more about the goods that are produced than the income they generate, Cliatt said. “Princeton may differ from other institutions in that we see license granting as a quality assurance tool, and not specifically as a means for generating revenue,” she said.
But along with an annual administrative fee of $125, licensees pay a royalty of 8 percent of the net sales price of all licensed products sold.
Sticking with Russell
One of the largest manufacturers of University-licensed apparel is Russell Athletic, whose clothing products account for 50 to 60 percent of the U-Store’s apparel sales, store president Jim Sykes told The Daily Princetonian earlier this month.
Russell, one of a number of firms which the University has contracted to produce Princeton-branded merchandise, is facing criticism from workers’ rights organizations alleging that Russell’s decision to close one of its factories in Honduras was motivated by conflicts with the factory’s union. More than 10 universities — including Harvard and Cornell — have ended their relationships with the company in response to the decision.
But the University has decided not to sever ties with Russell, Vice President and Secretary Bob Durkee ’69 said in a March 4 interview.
The Alabama-based corporation maintained that the factory’s closure was not based on issues related to labor contract negotiations following the factory’s unionization in 2007.
Russell Athletic Executive Vice President Gary Barfield strongly denied the allegation in an interview with the ‘Prince,’ saying that the plant’s closure was one of a series of cutbacks the company has undertaken due to decreased demand for its products in the current economic recession.
Around the Ivies
Princeton is not the only Ivy League institution that takes licensing its identity seriously.
“Quality control is premium for us,” Rick Calixto, director of the Harvard Trademark Program, said. “We only license ‘traditional’ items, and protecting the trademark takes precedence over licensing.”
Since 1985, Harvard has used revenue from its licensing trademarks to fund undergraduate financial aid, Calixto said. Last year, the program raised $1.4 million, up from roughly $1 million in 2001.
Harvard regularly goes after infringements on the use of the school’s identity in educational facilities around the world, including unaffiliated Chinese and Japanese schools set up in its name, he added.
Cornell also keeps a close eye on local entities, monitoring hotels and housing services in the Ithaca, N.Y., area to avoid associating the school’s name with unaffiliated businesses, Associate University Counsel Patricia McClary said.
“We’re just concerned with the confusion,” she said. “People would think they were dealing with the university when they weren’t.”
At the University of Pennsylvania, the Center of Technology Transfer (CTT) and Business Services Division oversees trademark licensing internally, CTT administrator Jacqueline Miraglia said.
The revenue funds a variety of Penn’s priority programs.
“A portion goes to student financial service; a portion goes back to athletics. A portion goes to Wharton,” Miraglia explained.
Unlike at Princeton, Harvard and Penn, licensing of Cornell’s trademarks is handled externally. The university relies on the Collegiate Licensing Company, a trademark licensing and marketing company based in Atlanta, Cornell Director of Operations Mike Powers said.
Cornell also nullifies the royalty for selling products with its logos for businesses in the surrounding county, he added.
Though this policy significantly decreases the licensing revenue — the school makes roughly $75,000 from the operation — it’s a long-standing policy that helps foster community relations, Powers said.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2009/03/27/23172/