View Full Version : Military Logos are licensed now?

Steve Clarkson
12-01-2011, 3:49 PM
I just read in the LazerBuzz newsletter that the administration (?) just instituted a new law that you need to get a license to use military logos.......

I guess he also had a little problem with that Turnkey Laser guy.........

Mark Patoka
12-01-2011, 4:04 PM
I had no idea it was so controlled and I'm an Air Force vet and currently employee. Here is a DoD link on use of various service trademarks: http://www.defense.gov/trademarks. I knew there were specific usage restrictions on displaying certain emblems for internal usage but didn't realize you had to purchase a license agreement. Looks like the military is trying to offset some of the drastic budget cuts we're experiencing. I see the Air Force has a list of approved vendors you can buy from.

Chuck Stone
12-01-2011, 5:12 PM
the logos have always been trademarked. But they are fairly easy to work with. They'll
want you to fill out an application and possibly submit samples so that they know that
the marks are not being used incorrectly. It didn't cost anything for a hobby/small
business license when I applied.

Martin Boekers
12-01-2011, 5:41 PM
Military and DOD Logos and shield etc have been controlled for quite a while.
They may be taking things to a new level. The MC I believe if you do under $5k
you just fill out a "quick form" Most branches don't charge and will give you a release.
Making it a License seems to me just to make it official.

Some seal such as the official Seal of the President are only allowed for official business.
I doubt the AF is going to make money on this, it will probably cost to monitor it more
than fees.

There are guidelines on how you may use or display them, take for instance, the AF Wings
you are limited on what you can put between the wings as for as size, positioning and content.

ASI folks will be hit because they are also limiting "givaway" merch.

This probably won't imapact many of us as most don't do the volumn that it affects.

I'm not sure if there is any new law on this as the graphics have always been trade marked,
they just are going to watch it a bit more closely. Not sure, but I imagine all trade marks
follow under the same usage and rights.

Mike Null
12-01-2011, 11:39 PM
There has never been authorization to use any DOD seals regardless of branch of service.

As I read the AF rules my customers have authorization to order awards using the AF logo and outfit insignias without any other authorization. In my case the AF departments are my customers and I don't sell such goods to the general public so I don't see a change for me. However for those selling Lazerbuzz products to the general public (not vets or active duty personnel) an authorization would be required.

Martin Boekers
12-02-2011, 10:38 AM
That's the way I understand it too Mike. Not sure if this their way of cutting off mass produced items from China, Mexico
or other countries for generic public sale items. One of the big things and I do mean big, is by using a logo on something
that isn't controled it is sometimes taken to "imply sponsorship" or "endorsement" the DOD is very protective on that.

I don't believe these changes, if that's what they are, will effect anyone here. I think in this day and age of legal interpitations
it's more of a clarification.

Cindy Rhoades
12-02-2011, 12:44 PM
I am licensed by the different military branches and this is nothing new it has been in place for a very long time. The process is fairly painless and slow with a couple of branches. As long as you are not selling anything with their logo you can use it but if money is involved you need to be licensed.

Mark Conde
12-02-2011, 2:05 PM
The real question is: Will the feds now strictly enforce the regulations? It seemed to be pretty loose previously?

Cindy Rhoades
12-02-2011, 2:16 PM
I know they have a huge backlog of alleged offenders that they will investigate so I would say yes they will be inforcing it for at least the ones who are making a good sum of money off of their logos without permission. I guess it really isn't any different than using the NFL tema logos or any other protected trademark. Many just like the military will allow you to use it for personal use but not commercial without a license.

Cindy Rhoades
12-02-2011, 2:21 PM
Mike I just re-read your post and you are right in a way because if it the AF making the order you are actually using their license for their use but you can't take one of the same items and sell one to the general public then you could get in trouble.

Tom Buzz Bernard
12-02-2011, 2:44 PM
I guess it really isn't any different than using the NFL team logos or any other protected trademark.

The Military is taxpayer owned (us) and the NFL is a private organization. I was OK with the permission, but going to a pay for license:confused:

At the present time only a few Military logos have been licensed. They are leaving the door open for some sales, such as the Marine FAQ page details (Marines have licensed the Eagle, Globe, & Anchor)

The commercial sale of Marine Corps products requires licensing. However; if you are a business owner, let’s say you are a custom t-shirt manufacturer and a service member approaches you about making 25 custom t-shirts for their unit. In this case you may create and sell to them the custom product they are requesting. However; if you are not licensed you may not advertise that you can create Marine Corps branded products. Only official USMC Licensees may advertise their Marine Corps branded products. Permission to create Marine Corps products is not given to the private business owner rather, Department of Defense employees, USMC veterans, retirees, active duty members and their immediate families have an implied license to use the Eagle, Globe and Anchor on personal products such as printed materials, literature, briefings, coins and web sites. These items must be intended for internal use and not for sale, advertising or potential endorsements. If you are at all confused regarding this matter please contact the Trademark Licensing Office.

I interpret this to mean, if you have someone request the item/product, you can make it and sell it to them but you can’t advertise you can do this unless you are licensed. If you are a member of the Marines or DOD you can make the items and display them for personal use, but cannot advertise to sell the items unless you are licensed or the item is requested. Bizarre - I can see this changing over time.

Maybe as I get older I see more issues with our freedom. If we want to honor our servicemen, what will the future hold? Most know my father was a Marine in the Korean War. Licenses will only drive up the price for anything we want to get to honor our loved ones. The false premise “is to protect the integrity of the insignia”, this can be done with the trademark and requiring permission (just like it has been in the past). Right now we can make them if it is requested, but this sounds like an incremental step.

Cindy Rhoades
12-02-2011, 3:03 PM
Depending on the amount of money your company will make off of the products most of the licensing does not cost a small business anything. I had no problem filling out the paperwork so that I could sell these products to the public to be able to help people honor their loved ones and to show my support for the troops. I for one am honored to be granted permission to reproduce the logos (except for proprietory seals) on my products.

Martin Boekers
12-02-2011, 3:55 PM
Trade Marks are a strange beast. There are certain requirements to keep them valid. I have an associate that has bought up
some famous (locally) trade marks mainly as investments, but he is required to produce and sell a product associated with it.
You may be surprized at how many trade marks that have expired are out there. I agree with you about fees. I will take this
one step farther and there should be no fees on the products that are produced in the USA as, as you say our taxes pay for it.
I feel all American flags should be the same produced in USA. I don't believe there is a license on producing that.

I don't believe this is about making money it's more control of how the product is used. The DoD is similar as civilian businesses
in a way that the logos and marketing are their branding and they want to have final say in how logos are used and represented.

I'm not sure how this effects products like you and others like you sell, because you are not selling a final product but a device
to make a final product. It's another grey area that plays out in opinions. What I would consider (I know its a bit of work) but
to include a sheet with the info for what your purchasers buy that explains the use that have of reproducing items for sale.
If what they produce needs a license or not and how to get one. People hear different things and interporate them differently
and it may effect your sales if the potential buyer doesn't understand the rights territory.

I'm not sure on trade marks or SM marks what you have to be to have the rights. It's evident that business can have them, but
not sure about individuals as you have to produce a product to have one. Also how do governments fit into the book? Does the USA own
international rights also?

This could open up a dialog that may be more fun than copyrights!

Mark Conde
12-02-2011, 11:05 PM
I dont this it is anything like the NFL licenses which are private enterprises. The military logos and insignias are public property cared for by the federal govt.

Mark Conde
12-02-2011, 11:07 PM
Buzz is spot on.