High School's Trademarking Nets $18K Over Four Years

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Evansville Courier & Press (Indiana)


Several years ago, Mater Dei High School recognized that many vendors were making money on the Mater Dei name and logo.

"We were aware that colleges and professional teams make a substantial amount of money through royalties," said Mater Dei president Timothy A. Dickel. "Mater Dei is fortunate to have a strong following who often wears our apparel."

In 2010, Mater Dei went through the trademarking process.

"We then sent letters to vendors who sell Mater Dei apparel and asked for a royalty," Dickel said. "Local and national vendors now send us a royalty. I encourage other schools to go through the same process."

Mater Dei received about $18,000 from 2012-2016.

"The amount fluctuates from year to year," Dickel said.

While the Kentucky High School Athletic Association partnered with licensing firms that work with individual schools to license and monetize merchandise, the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) leaves it up to its 418 member schools.

IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox said member schools market, advertise and sell merchandise to benefit their schools. It is the member schools' obligation to get trademarks to ensure the school controls who sells their merchandise.

However, Boonville athletic director Kevin Davis doesn't think the hassle of going through the trademarking process is worth it.

"If you are going to trademark the Boonville Pioneers' logo and name and enforce it, that job falls on the athletic director," Davis said. "How do you find the time to do that?"

Castle has a link to its athletic website to its BSN Sideline Store, where fans can customize Castle High School apparel any way they would like, said Castle athletic director Brandon Taylor.

"Since we have an all-school deal with BSN Sports, those sales go toward our total amount spent with BSN each year and we get a percentage of credit back on all the money we spend with them (on equipment, uniforms, apparel, etc.)," Taylor said. "With that said, the amount of credit that we receive through our merchandising on the website is very minimal. We receive nothing from any other merchandising source."

Like Castle, Harrison has a website from which it sells apparel and also sells apparel from its athletic office, said Harrison athletic director Bryan Speer. However, sometimes people want apparel customized to a particular sport that is not offered.

Because Harrison has to buy apparel in bulk, it doesn't make much money.

"Anybody can sell SIAC (Southern Indiana Athletic Conference) apparel in stores," Speer said. "There is no law prohibiting them from doing that."

Without a trademark, schools don't get any of the revenue from those sales.

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April 17, 2017


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