Everything You Need to Know about Trademark Licensing

Business owners have several options to safeguard their brand. While profiting from sales through a third party, many opt to employ trademark licensing to legally protect their goods and services while trusting a third party to manufacture or sell the brand. With years of experience in various industries, the trademark attorneys at Ritter Spencer Cheng are well-versed in trademark law and can successfully guide businesses through the trademark registration or licensing process. Below, we offer answers to basic questions regarding trademark licensing to provide further insight for anyone considering this avenue.

What is Trademark Licensing?

Trademark licensing is a form of agreement wherein a trademark owner licenses use of its mark to a third party. The trademark owner allows the licensee to use their trademark for specified purposes

Examples of trademark licensing include a sports team that licenses its logo to third-party merchandisers, a popular cartoon character used on clothing produced by third parties, or a soft drink company allowing a licensee to sell branded products. 

Trademark Licensing Written Agreement

While trademark licensing does not have to be enforced in written form, it is certainly best practice to avoid potential legal issues with the licensee or trademark owner. The written agreement should detail terms and conditions, as well as the following:

      • Quality control provisions
      • Name of the licensor and licensee
      • Type of license 
      • Scope of the license grant
      • Included trademarks
      • The products or services that may involve the trademark
      • Territory Identification
      • Payment details
      • Term Limitations

Types of Trademark Licenses

When determining which type of trademark license is best for a business, the proprietor should consider long-term goals and how much autonomy they may want over the original trademark in the future. 

Additional Trademark Licensing Details

Licensors must maintain control over the use of their trademarks and follow brand usage guidelines provided by the trademark owner. Once the parties finalize the licensing agreement, it can be recorded in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Obtaining a trademark license is a great way to expand into new markets, increase brand recognition, and distribute the workload among trusted partners.

There are many aspects of trademarks beyond licensing, and Ritter Spencer Cheng has several resources to help business owners and individuals understand trade dress, registration, and types of trademarks

Trademark licensing can be complex, and it is an area prone to subsequent litigation. To ensure that both the licensor and licensee are aligned and that the written agreement covers everything it needs to, contact Ritter Spencer Cheng for legal support or call us at 214.295.5070 for more information.