Fashion companies utilize a mechanism called licensing to expand the brand and also increase revenue via royalties. So what exactly is licensing?
Licensing is the process of “renting” a fashion company’s intellectual property (generally trademarks) to another entity for use in conjunction with a product or service, for a sum of money called royalties. It is based on a contractual agreement between the owner of the property, known as the licensor, and the manufacturer or retailer, known as the licensee.
LICENSOR (IP Owner) + LICENSEE (Manufacturer) = LICENSED PRODUCT(s)
A licensing deal is a lot like a marriage for money. Two brands come together, to share and reap the benefits of one’s name. Licensing is especially prominent in fashion, as brands will often license the rights to use their intellectual property.
While many Jets fans were excited to find out that the beloved Tim Tebow was traded to the Jets, the effects of this news brought less excitement for sports merchandise giant Nike. Nike claims in a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, that after Tebow’s big trade to the New York Jets, Reebok allegedly started producing and selling illegal Tim Tebow Jets merchandise. Nike is seeking an injunction preventing Reebok from selling the merchandse, legal fees and compensatory and punitive damages
In 2010 the N.F.L. announced that Reebok’s exclusive license to make and sell on field apparel, including uniforms and fan gear, which lasted 10 years and was worth about $250 million to the N.F.L. will expire and that Nike will be the new exclusive Licensee.
Nike claims that while Reebok’s License with the N.F.L association ends in March, their deal to sell Teebow – related products ended at the end of February and thus Nike has exclusive right to sell the Tim Tebow merchandise. Both the N.F. L. and Reebok decline to comment.
The thought of the brand Sperry Top-sider, for most people, automatically brings to mind their trendy boat shoe, which has been a popular selling item for months. So it should come as no surprise that the nautical brand is in the process of expanding their product offerings.
WWD reports that the National Hockey League’s licensing efforts have been literally paying off: merchandise sales enjoyed a 15% climb last season and a 15% increase this year.
The NHL’s VP of consumer products licensing, James Haskins, attributes the growth to the influx of marquee players, higher television ratings, but also consumers who “want more out of what they are purchasing.”
Risqué photos of sixteen-year-old model, Hailey Clauson, are the subject of a recent lawsuit. In April 2011, Clauson’s parents sued the original photographer, two boutique stores, and the national retail chain Urban Outfitters, Inc. for $28 million after the stores began selling t-shirts with a photograph of the model in a provocative position on a motorcycle. Clauson was only fifteen years old when she took the original photograph in March 2010. According to ABC news, Clauson’s parents gave Jason Lee Parry, the photographer, permission to release the photos. Although the pictures ended up in Qvest, a European magazine, in summer 2010, Clauson’s parents did not object to the reproduction of the photos until Urban Outfitters starting selling the t-shirts. Parry claims that he did not give the t-shirt company permission to put Clauson’s photo on a t-shirt to be sold at Urban Outfitters.
While reading the Above The Law, a blawg revolving around Big Law and Law School in general, I found an interesting article that combined football, employment law and fashion licensing.
It all started with a Green Bay Packers logo tie. The Packer licensed their logo to this tie company. With the Green Bay Packers defeating the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game, many fans were quite enthusiastic. One man’s boss asked the Packers fan to remove his tie, after he refused, he was fired.
Within hours, employment lawyers were up in arms, claiming wrongful termination. This Constitutional Law Student must wonder, are Packers fans part of an esteemed suspect class?
The same scenario played out in another office, but in Chicago. The employee’s manager asked him five times to remove his tie before he was fired. I believe that employer’s have a right to regulate the uniforms of their employees. The manager noted that the company had spent a lot of money advertising with the Bears, and this was bad business. However, this employee worked as a car salesman, which is generally at-will employment.
Perhaps this is just attorneys up in arms and drumming up business, or perhaps it is a defense of free speech. Or alas, perhaps it is good old-fashioned bad sportsmanship.
A Media Post blog is reporting the trend that fashion brands are using their logos in connection with sports. Ralph Lauren has been the official designer of US Olympic team and linked with the US Open. The article points out that Izod became IndyCar title sponsor in 2009 and Van Heusen is in its second year of sponsoring the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is also an NFL sponsor.
Advertising during the Superbowl isn’t anything new; we all know that these commercial spots are the most expensive slots all year round. The important difference with Van Heusen isn’t advertising with a commercial during the Superbowl, but a multi-platform campaign.
If you have ever had the opportunity to check out a Major League Baseball game, televised or live, you have probably noticed that almost every single player and coach wears a cap bearing two very important marks – (1) the team logo, and (2) the little rectangular MLB logo. While the team logo serves the obvious function of identifying the team, the rectangular MLB logo serves a more important source-identifying function. When a consumer sees the little rectangular logo on the back of a baseball cap, an immediate connection is made to Major League Baseball. The consumer will know that they are buying a quality product that is actually worn by players on the field. The good will and association that MLB has developed over a long period of time is a valuable asset to the organization. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the organization’s lawyers were on the offensive upon learning that Applicant Michael MacLaverty attempted to register the design shown below for hats, shirts, sweatshirts, and t-shirts.