When matters of intellectual property and higher education collide, it is often the result of university researchers exploring new ways to commercialize their laboratory innovations. But in more cases, schools are finding similar value in a separate pursuit: trademark management.
This month, North Carolina State University's Trademark and Licensing Office reported annual revenues of $1.1 million during its latest fiscal year. This 16 percent annual growth rate was largely attributed to the school's insistence on expanding its presence in the retail sector and negotiating more favorable licensing contracts across a broader range of branded assets.
"The net revenue that comes out of the licensing program all go into student support through scholarships," explained trademark licensing director Gregg Zarnstorff. "After our expenses are paid, everything goes into student scholarships."
While generating revenue from intellectual assets is an important pursuit for university officials, protecting against infringement may be just as significant.
The University of Alabama is one institution that has taken that advice to heart in recent months. According to the Associated Press, school officials have had to vigilantly monitor the business practices of everyone from local bakeries to national apparel manufacturers attempting to derive revenue from fraudulent associations with the school's championship football team and related logos.