Yale University earlier this month decided to cash in on the University’s name by collecting a 7.5 percent fee from retailers selling products bearing the Yale insignia.
While Yale is just beginning to cash in on trademark fees, Dartmouth has been collecting trademark fees for years, at least since the early 1980s and probably since the late 1970s, College Counsel Sean Gorman said.
Dartmouth makes money from use of the College insignia and the College name.
“The name Dartmouth appearing on a sweatshirt is owed trademark protection and we are under royalty on that name,” Gorman said.
The seven percent fee results in a income of slightly more than $100,000 each year, Associate Treasurer Win Johnson said.
“We do it for the same reason anyone with a valuable name does that,” Gorman said. “To protect their name and get revenue.”
Gorman said requiring businesses to pay trademark fees also gives the College a way to control its use.
“It helps us to provide quality of image,” Gorman said.
He said the money from the fees goes into the College’s general operating budget, which can be used for whatever the College deems acceptable.
Gorman said the seven percent is a typical fee for a university to charge.
But, Gorman said, not all uses of the College name are subject to trademark fees. Gorman said long-existing uses of the College’s name — such as Dartmouth Travel and the Dartmouth Bookstore — are not subject to fees, because there is little confusion about the College’s involvement with the business.
“No one thinks the College owns a travel agency,” he said.
In general, all businesses that do not have the potential to tarnish the Dartmouth name are exempt from paying royalties.
Many students at Yale complained that the university’s new fee would raise the price of Yale merchandise for students. But Gorman said trademark fees do not noticeably affect the prices of products for Dartmouth students.
“It tends to be the case that goods bearing a valuable name are priced as if they are bearing a fee regardless of whether they are or not,” Gorman said.
Rocio Menoscal, manager of Traditionally Trendy, a store that sells merchandise bearing the College logo, said they include the fees as part of the cost of the item.
She said paying licensing fees does not inhibit business because “people like to buy products when they know it has the license.”
Dartmouth Co-op Manager Chris Stowe said the cost of the trademark is built into the pricing at his store as well.