Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2017 - 54
Sports & Tailgating
Auburn University is focused on using licensing
to promote and protect the school's brand.
Auburn University's trademark and licensing department protects the school brand and
builds scholarship revenue for the college. BY KAT ZEMAN
director of trademark
ith more than 12,000 designs landing on their desks each year, Jennifer
Blackmon and Jason Harbison have
a lot to juggle. Aside from approving
requests, managing trademarks and licensing for
Auburn University involves constant communication with hundreds of retailers, licensees and fans.
But Auburn, like many universities, realizes that trademark licensing is a lucrative way to
create value from intellectual property assets. It is
becoming a significant source of revenue for many
universities. For Auburn, that means collecting an
average of roughly $3.8 million in royalties on an
"Last year, we had about three million units of
Auburn products sold," says Blackmon, director of
trademark management and licensing. "It's amazing
how many designs come through our office for review. It's anything from t-shirts and tennis shoes to
chairs, coolers, blankets and tumblers."
Roughly 500 companies have licensing agreements with the university. Not only can a licensing
agreement generate revenue that filters back to essential university programs, but the circulation of an