This policy applies to collegiate licensing programs within the UW System.
A collegiate licensing program establishes a formal process for approving the use of an institution’s marks in exchange for a fee. Collegiate licensing programs allow higher education institutions to: (1) generate funds to support student services, athletics, or other programs; (2) promote the positive image and identification of an institution; and (3) protect an institution’s reputation, good name, and image by permitting only appropriate uses and assuring that only quality products bear the institution’s name and symbols. This policy establishes system-wide guidelines for collegiate licensing programs at UW institutions.
The Board of Regents supports the establishment of collegiate licensing programs within the University of Wisconsin System. Each UW collegiate licensing program shall adhere to the following:
1. Administration of Licensing Programs
Each institution has the sole discretion, based on the institution’s assessment of its interests, to determine whether to establish a collegiate licensing program.
Each institution shall determine whether it is more cost-effective to administer a collegiate licensing program internally or by contracting with an outside agent. The institution shall compare the cost-effectiveness of any proposed contract with the cost of operating an internal program. License agreements should follow applicable purchasing rules.
Licensing programs should be financed solely from licensing revenue unless an exception is made by the President.
(a) Retailer Exemptions: As a general policy, UW institutions shall not exempt sales of licensed goods to some retailers from licensing fees or royalties, while charging fees or royalties on sales of goods to all other retailers. Exemptions may not provide differential treatment and a competitive advantage to one set or retailers and shall be consistent with Regent Policy Document 12-1, “Competition with the Private Sector.”
A University of Wisconsin institution shall charge licensing fees on sales to bookstores it owns, operates, or leases if the institution is charging licensing fees on sales to any outside vendors for the same items. An example of a prohibited retailer exemption is a “geographic” exemption that exempts from fees or royalties sales to private sector vendors within a specified geographic area, such as the area bordering the institution’s campus.
(b) Consumer exemptions: Except as stated in (d) below, UW institutions shall not exempt sales to some types of consumers from licensing fees or royalties, while charging fees and/or royalties on sales to all other consumers.
(c) Product exemptions: UW institutions may exempt selected products from licensing fees or royalties. Examples of products that may be appropriate for exemptions include selected school supplies, which are bought primarily by students, and craft items produced by local individuals or shops.
(d) Internal consumption exemption: UW institutions may exempt from licensing fees or royalties purchases for internal university consumption. All such purchases shall be from licensed manufacturers.
3. Use of Licensing Revenue
Institutions shall use the revenue generated from collegiate licensing for programs or activities that directly benefit students. Examples of programs with direct student benefits include student athletics and student scholarships.
4. Registration of Marks
Federal and state registration of any mark by any UW institution shall be in the name of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
5. Design Standards and Use Guidelines
Institutions with collegiate licensing programs shall develop design standards and use guidelines and make them available to potential licensees.
6. Review and Reporting Requirements
Prior to entering into a licensing contract, each institution shall have the proposed contract reviewed by the University of Wisconsin System’s Office of General Counsel.
Each institution shall notify the Board of Regents of any contract it enters into related to the creation of a collegiate licensing program and shall seek Board approval if required under Regent Policy Document 13-1, “General Contract Approval, Signature Authority, and Reporting.”
Each institution without a campus office of legal affairs shall notify the University of Wisconsin System’s Office of General Counsel within thirty days of any dispute related to collegiate licensing issues.
OVERSIGHT, ROLES, AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The University of Wisconsin System’s Office of the General Counsel is the primary contact for providing assistance related to collegiate licensing issues to UW institutions without a campus office of legal affairs.
RELATED REGENT POLICY DOCUMENTS AND APPLICABLE LAWS
- Regent Policy Document 12-1, “Competition with the Private Sector.”
- Regent Policy Document 13-1, “General Contract Approval, Signature Authority, and Reporting.”
History: Res. 5791, adopted 05/10/1991, created Regent Policy Document 91-6, subsequently renumbered RPD 27-1. Res. 11555, adopted 12/10/2020, amended and renamed RPD 27-1.