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In 1981, Auburn University created its trademark management and licensing program to establish a foundation for promoting and protecting the use of its trademarks. Over the years, the traditions and spirit shared by the Auburn family have increased the demand for association with and products that feature the University's trademarks. The use of AU's trademarks extends through all facets of the University. Therefore, it has been the practice that the Office of Trademark Management & Licensing be overseen by a senior administrator who maintains a university-wide perspective. As such, this function is under the direction of the Office of the Executive Vice President. The University has contracted with The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), the nation's leading collegiate licensing and marketing representative, to enhance the University's efforts in this area. The CLC Consortium consists of more than 200 universities, bowl games, conferences, the NCAA and the Heisman Trophy. Based in Atlanta, CLC provides its member institutions with expertise, resources, and experience necessary to maximize licensing revenue potential through the power of consolidation.
Colleges and universities are not alone in the promotion, protection, and licensing of its trademarks. The licensing concept has been around since the advent of the entertainment and fashion industry. Well known companies such as Disney, Coca-Cola and John Deere have used licensing to enhance its marketing and brand recognition efforts by allowing other companies to use its trademarks on merchandise. While at one point in the evolution of licensing, it was merely a means to protect a property's ownership of a logo, licensing is now being used to as a marketing tool by companies that understand the value that their trademark/brand has in the minds of its consumers.