Trademark Licensing (2.2)

Credit Language

EN 15: Trademark Licensing – version 2.2

Frequently Asked Questions

How has this credit changed between STARS 2.1 and 2.2?

Substantive changes were made to this credit. Partial points are awarded to institutions that have adopted a labor code of conduct in licensing agreements, but have not joined a monitoring and verification organization to ensure compliance. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the 2.2 Summary of changes.

What is trademark licensing?

Names and visual representations of an institution are considered to be its “trademarks”. This includes word/service marks, nicknames, logos, insignia, seals, and so on. Trademark licensing occurs when an institution requires manufacturers, producers, and other entities that plan to use these trademarks to complete a licensing process and carry an agreement prior to producing, distributing, and selling emblematic merchandise.

A trademark licensing program allows an institution to manage the quality and consistency of merchandise bearing its name and logo and earn revenue from its sales. It also provides an opportunity to help ensure that licensed apparel is produced under fair labor conditions. This is best accomplished by adopting a labor rights code of conduct in the institution’s licensing agreements with the licensees who produce its logo apparel and by maintaining institutional membership in one or more independent monitoring and verification organizations (e.g., the Fair Labor Association and/or the Worker Rights Consortium).

Is this credit applicable to my institution?

Although trademark licensing is standard practice in the US and some other contexts, it is less common elsewhere. You may mark this credit as Not Applicable if any of the following are true:

  • The institution does not have a trademarked logo.
  • The institution’s logo does not appear on apparel.
  • The institution’s gross annual licensing revenue is less than $50,000 (or the institution does not have a trademark licensing program).

How do I find out if my institution is a member of an independent monitoring and verification organization?

Check the listings below:

Although both FLA and WRC are based in the US, they are international in scope and have offices around the world. Please contact each organization directly to inquire about affiliation.

Our primary apparel vendor or bookstore is an FLA member. Does that count?

As mentioned above, an institution can best help ensure that licensed apparel is produced under fair labor conditions by adopting a labor rights code of conduct in its licensing agreements and maintaining institutional membership in one or more independent monitoring and verification organizations. The companies, suppliers, and licensees that an institution works with may also participate in monitoring and verification organizations, thereby helping to ensure fair labor practices are applied throughout the supply chain, however these activities are not sufficient to earn points in this credit.

Resources, Templates & Tools

Example Responses

  • California State University, Long Beach – Participation in FLA is well-documented on institutional website, and FLA website link where the institution’s membership can be found is also provided.
  • University of California, Berkeley – Good detail provided on FLA and WRC membership history provided. Response includes an uploaded system-wide Trademark Licensing Code of Conduct.

Common Issues Identified During Review

  • Institutions must be certified by Fair Labor Association (FLA) or Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) to earn full points. Partial points are awarded for adopting a labor rights code of conduct in licensing agreements with licensees who produce logo apparel. Working with a supplier or contractor that is certified or purchasing FLA- or WRC-certified products is not is not sufficient to earn points.

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