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Thread: Licensing for Military Products

  1. #1

    Licensing for Military Products

    Has anyone successfully applied for and received a license to use the various military branches trademarks, slogans, logos, etc. on their products? What's the royalty structure . Seems like a helluva process to get one.

  2. #2
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    I believe your going to find that legally reproducing any trademarked branding is going to be extremely expensive. Whether it be military, sports, auto, harley, on and on. Beyond the up-front costs you will then be the one to defend your cost-for-admission as the entities dont really challenge those who infringe, they rely on those who have paid the price, to fight out the non-complyers.

    Ive known several small shops from CNC, wood, laser engravers, who have been issued legitimate cease and desists, as well as a few that have had to pay out of pocket settlements based on documented production while not in compliance.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  3. #3
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    Some programs have "small maker" licenses; some do not. I'm not sure about the military stuff, however. Universities are one you have to be careful with, too. Some have small maker licenses; some do not and they absolutely prosecute which can get very expensive.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    Here's a PDF that explains military logos and insignias, and their allowed- or disallowed- use by Non-Federal Entities. It's 12 pages, and I didn't read thru the whole thing, but it appears that the DoD doesn't don't sell licensing, but rather, they give permission to use logos and insignia's. Or not

    here's a link to the download: https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Do...0Oct%2015F.PDF
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  5. #5
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    I bet universities with law schools let student lawyers try cases like this for free. Actually the junior lawyers have to pay tuition for the privilege to take you to court.
    Bill D

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    I bet universities with law schools let student lawyers try cases like this for free. Actually the junior lawyers have to pay tuition for the privilege to take you to court.
    Bill D
    The instances I have heard of in my local area (most generally small popup laser shops) usually just involve a company or group branding agency who has gone through the process of getting the rights simply issuing a cease and desist if they catch it early enough. The people Ive spoken with who have been slapped first hand, it comes from a company who has the rights, or from a branding company that issues rights (third party). I know of a handful that were contacted regarding Harley, Disney, and national/college sports, but all of the contacts came from a branding agency or a company producing similar product who has the rights.

    I know of one who found their own copy written material being infringed upon that pursued the offending company to the extent of court, and the offending company having to do an internal audit, documenting how many items were made, how many sold, how many in inventory/distribution, and so on, and wound up with a $100K+ judgment against them. Of course the company who pursued it wound up with less than 10% of that judgement in the end and the lawyers took the rest.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  7. #7
    I see TONS of cutting boards, plaques, etc. with LE/military/fire department/university logos for sale on Etsy and FB marketplace. Seems like everyone has a little laser, now. No opinion but I can't believe any of these have been licensed.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  8. #8
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    I think that the branded-logo-on-stuff market is so saturated that there's not much purpose to pursuing it. I had a lumber customer who showed me a plaque he had made with his laser with the color and name of a university and I thought, well, there's an ugly little doodad that nobody needs, but I didn't say so. Maybe I'm wrong and there is money to be made this way, but I don't see it.
    Zach

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    I see TONS of cutting boards, plaques, etc. with LE/military/fire department/university logos for sale on Etsy and FB marketplace. Seems like everyone has a little laser, now. No opinion but I can't believe any of these have been licensed.

    Erik
    It's very likely that they have not been licensed. There are many "cottage" makers that don't understand or don't want to understand or willfully ignore things like graphics licensing. Producing something for, say, your favorite team, for your own private use isn't really an issue, but selling those items without commercial license is not legal and the financial impact can be really stiff--if the copyright owner chooses to pursue it. The shear volume of stuff being sold out there is incredible. But if someone or some firm starts doing enough business to get noticed, there very well might be action taken. Some folks/businesses try to insulate themselves with "waivers" that the customer is responsible for any licensing, but I doubt that would actually protect them in the long run if a copyright holder chose to pursue them.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
    I figured that was it, Jim. Can you imagine how much work it would be if the official companies tried to shut all this down? There is a picture framing place up the street from our house that is doing an exhibition of Star Wars themed paintings from a bunch of local artists. Some of these paintings are several thousand dollars. That seems much more problematic.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    Can you imagine how much work it would be if the official companies tried to shut all this down?
    The "getting noticed" is the key. All it takes is enough volume to put someone on the radar and it would likely never be the main company (perhaps other than Disney) to get on someones case. It would be the official branding company or some distribution arm of theirs who found the work, deemed the volume enough to pursue, and soon.

    Its the typical paranoia scenario where you may go on for years and make tons of money without issue, or you may get caught somewhere along the way.

    My guess is the military insignia's are pretty much safe. Not too many will find it beneficial to go against the Toby Keith "we'll put a boot in your ___" nation. Most things patriotic are left alone and also used by many as a slam dunk for sales, song sales, and so on.

    But for the rest of it, defending a 100K law suit would put a hurt on a good sized legitimate business. They will likely just shut down the cottage shop thats moving any product because there is no revenue to be collected and only a bully black eye to be gained.. Hence why so many on Etsy get away with NFL corn hole boards.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  12. #12
    There is no fee for using military logos. There is a taboo on using the official seals of the US Govt., the President and those for all branches of the military. Generally, you can use the various symbols, patches and insignias without any repercussion but if you want written permission you can contact the Dept. of Heraldry for each branch of the service. Some are quick and some are not. It is not a money making venture for the military but rather an effort to ensure that the marks are used respectfully and in accordance with their intent.

    I have pretty much passed my military business on to others but I did a fairly good business with the Air Force, Coast Guard and Army and never needed permission for any of that work.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
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  13. #13
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    I saw some signs in a neon shop and the owner said that he had a license for them and he goes after other shops that don't. He turns them in when ever he can he says it is just a email away to do this and he saw some shops end up going out of business because of the fines.

  14. #14
    There's a lot of misunderstanding of trademark law...

    If you buy a T-shirt and make yourself an iron-on Corvette logo and apply it to your T-shirt, are you committing trademark infringement?
    No, because you're doctoring up your own personal property, and thanks to the 1st amendment not even GM can prevent you from doing that.

    But suppose you buy a case of T-shirts, and use your iron-ons to create a case full of "Corvette T-shirts" to sell at a swap meet-- That would constitute infringement, because your customers 'may be confused' into believing they're buying an 'actual' GM/Corvette item, and GM licensees DO sell such things.

    Now suppose some guy comes to me and requests that I laser a Corvette logo onto his leather cargo cover, which is essentially the same him doing it himself, but I'd make it look nicer-- If I do the job, AM I committing trademark infringement?
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  15. #15
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    I made a "military mailbox" about 10 years ago for our church that had the insignias for the 5 branches laser engraved on the front. I followed the process to gain permission to use the insignias from each branch and it was quite easy. I sent emails to each contact one night around 7 pm. The Marines were the first ones to respond (upholding their "first in" reputation?) by 8 am the next morning. I had all but the Navy within 2 days. It turned out that the Navy contact was sick, but responded in about 4 days with an apology about the delay. The Air Force did have one extra requirement. The guy wanted a picture of the end product so he could show his woodworking buddy at his church. My main take away from the process is that they were quite accommodating if you weren't looking to use it for financial gain.

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