Trademarks: How to Get Licensed to Use Logos for Colleges and Universities in Your Craft Business

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College sports are popular, and it’s no surprise that Silhouette or Cricut crafters want to create and sell products in support of their favorite school. Whether it’s football team gear, a generic college design, or support of your favorite collegiate basketball team – it’s likely that the school has their names and logos trademarked.

I’m sure Cutting for Business readers know that before selling anything with logos, mascots, slogans, or names of your favorite school, you would need to obtain a license.

Can Crafters Get A License?

Unlike the NFL which is not friendly for small businesses to get licensed (see this post for more information), small business owners may find more success with collegiate licensing. Many colleges have outsourced their licensing to CLC – Collegiate Licensing Company. CLC currently manages about 200 schools, bowl games, the NCAA, and more. To view specifically what institutions use CLC, see this link. After finding the institution you are interested in on the list, you can click it to find more information about the institution’s royalty rates, advanced fees, and additional information.

CLC Local Licenses

CLC offers four different types of licenses that you can read about here, but the one that is most appropriate for Silhouette or Cricut crafters is the local license. This type of license from CLC allows crafters to apply for licensing for up to 3 institutions on your initial application.

After successful licensing, you can obtain licensing for up to 5 institutions total. There are geographic limits that apply to this type of license; however if you do not reside in the state of the institution and are an alumni – you may be able to get licensed. Successful local licensees can apply for a standard license after a year, if desired.

What You’ll Need to Obtain a CLC Local License

  • $100 non-refundable application fee
  • Completed application
  • Institutional fees – vary between $250 and $5,000+
  • FLA (Fair Labor Association) fees – vary greatly
  • Credit report
  • Factory/Supplier information form
  • Product samples
  • Label samples
  • Bank statements
  • Marketing and distribution plan
  • Sales catalog (optional)

How Long Does It Take?

CLC’s processing time on applications is around 2 months from the time your application and additional documents are received, but this timeframe is also dependent on how quickly you submit responses to CLC during the process. Before you decide to dive in, I’d recommend you spend some time on CLC’s website – which is a wealth of information. If the school you are interested in does not manage their licensing program through CLC, I’d recommend you reach out to the institution and ask for contact information for their trademark and licensing department. Some schools, especially smaller institutions (including my alma mater), handle their own licensing.

Trademarks are a Big Deal

I’m am an advocate for running a craft business ethically and legally. If you are going to create products using your Silhouette or Cricut with college or university names, logos, slogans, or mascots you always need to obtain a license. If you do not obtain a license, the trademark owner can take legal action against you, your business, or your shop. Trademark owners often have large legal teams that small business owners cannot afford to stand up against.

Wondering about collegiate Greek licensing? Head to this post.

Trademarks: How to Get Licensed for Colleges and Universities in Your Silhouette or Cricut Craft Business - by cuttingforbusiness.com

6 thoughts on “Trademarks: How to Get Licensed to Use Logos for Colleges and Universities in Your Craft Business”

  1. I am not actively searching for a “loophole” or anything like that. I’m new at all this and trying to potentially start a business without overstepping any bounds. Thank you for this post because I had no idea. My question is: if I were to use legitimate licensed products (such as stickers bought from a collegiate store), would I be able to use these safely? I have had people ask me to make personalized cups for X school and so far haven’t done any school logos/names. But I do have stickers I bought from a college’s online store or from athletic stores appropriately licensed. I paint the cups, use the school’s licensed product, and then only “create” the client’s name on vinyl to make a finished product. Is this okay to do? So far I’ve only done a couple and they’ve been gifts for family/friends and not for profit, but I wanted to clarify before continuing.

  2. It seems to me that while CLC may be good for the college it’s bad news for crafters who want to make an honest income. Crafters usually don’t mass produce let alone have a million dollar liability insurance policy. Most like myself would probably never meet the yearly limit. We are crafters wanting to use our talents, have the ability to sell at craft markets, rental booths, et.
    Crafters are forced to use Etsy as their go to for images, buy phony commercial license and start selling while breaking the law. The people at the colleges I contacted seem sympathetic but still no help. Crafters have been making collegiate items for as long as I can remember, can it really be putting a dent in the college’s income?
    What is a law abiding crafter to do? Loose the sale, send the customer to a law breaking competition never to see them again, or, join the law breakers and hope we never get caught. What are our chances? I am really at a loss.
    Thanks for all your help in your articles.

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