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PHI BETA SIGMA VENDOR FAQs
Q: What are the Fraternity’s trademarks?
A: Some of the Fraternity’s primary trademarks are listed below. However, Phi Beta Sigma claims ownership of any logo, nickname or tagline that it uses to conduct business, including non- registered trademarks. Any and all commercial use of Phi Beta Sigma’s marks (or any marks that are confusingly similar) must be granted through a License Agreement with the Fraternity.
Trademarks include, but are not limited to:
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Greek Letters, “ΦΒΣ”
Phi Beta Sigma Seal
Q: Who needs to become licensed?
A: Any group or individual that wishes to trade on the goodwill associated with Phi Beta Sigma’s marks, and benefit commercially from utilization of those marks, must become licensed in order to do so. A vendor is not required to become licensed in order to resell products produced by a licensed manufacturer, so long as they do not further embellish the product or expand on the use of the insignia (example: a licensed decal cannot be added to a cup without gaining licensing approval for the cup).
Q: What is the cost to apply for, and maintain, a license?
A: There is a $100 non-refundable application fee. The royalty is 10% of gross sales and a $100 annual renewal fee.
Q: Does Phi Beta Sigma require a royalty advance or minimum?
A: No, there are no royalty advances or minimums.
Q: What information needs to be provided in royalty reports?
A: Royalty reports must contain transaction detail including customer information (last name, university/chapter, or company name), date, invoice number, product description, quantity, price per unit, and gross sales total.
Q: Do members of Phi Beta Sigma need to become licensed in order to utilize the insignia?
A member's right to use the organization's insignia is limited to noncommercial personal use (the process of recognizing oneself as a member). Outside of this limited use, members are required to follow the same legal obligations as other vendors. Consistent with fair trade practices, Phi Beta Sigma has equitable terms for all vendors, regardless of whether or not an owner or employee may be a member of the organization.
Q: Does licensing apply for custom orders and/or if the order is placed by a chapter or member?
Yes, licensing applies whenever a commercial transaction containing Phi Beta Sigma’s marks takes place. Moreover, neither individual chapters nor members of the organization have the right to grant commercial use of the trademarks to a third party. Only International Headquarters has that authority as the sole trademark owner.
Q: How can royalty reports and payments be submitted?
A: Royalty reports can be uploaded to the Affinity Gateway at www.greeklicensing.com. While most file types are accepted, the most common are PDF or Excel spreadsheets. Payments can also be made through the Gateway via secure e-check. If you submit reports and pay online, you do not need to mail the reports. Nearly 90% of vendors report and pay online (the most efficient and confirmable method); however, we accept mailed, emailed, or faxed reports and mailed checks or money orders.
Q: What file types are accepted for design submissions?
A: Designs can be submitted as .jpg, .png, or .gif. The proposed design should be submitted as a mock-up on the product so that size and placement of the insignia is visible.
Q: What is the standard response time for design submissions?
A: Designs are typically reviewed within 24-48 hours of submission, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). The response time may be longer if the design contains questionable content.
Q: What is the difference between wholesalers and retailers?
A: Wholesalers sell to other stores or businesses in large quantities. Retailers sell to customers in smaller quantities. Custom chapter orders (among other types) are considered retail sales. Both types of businesses require licensing however.
Q: How does licensing benefit members of Phi Beta Sigma?
Q: What are the benefits of being licensed?
There are many benefits to being licensed, including exposure on GreekLicensing.com and Phi Beta Sigma’s custom vendor roster, and the ability to market your company as officially licensed. Becoming licensed is the only legal way to utilize Phi Beta Sigma’s marks. Also, Phi Beta Sigma directs members to only patronize licensed vendors and to look for vendors that are using the Official Licensed Product seal (only available to licensed vendors).
Q: Why are vendors required to submit representative samples in order to become licensed?
Phi Beta Sigma expects that high quality products and services are made available to members. Proposed products must be reviewed carefully in order to ensure that this expectation is met.
Q: Why must all designs be approved prior to production, marketing, and/or sale?
Each product or service that displays one or more of Phi Beta Sigma’s marks will have an impact on our reputation as an organization, so we have a responsibility (and a legal right) to uphold certain guidelines related to the use of the marks.
Q: Why must all products be labeled with an Official Licensed Product hologram decal, and why must all marketing materials contain the Official Licensed Product seal?
Q: Why is maintaining a $1 million product liability insurance policy, and listing the organization as additional insured, required?
A: First and foremost, the insurance requirement is in the best interest of the company that is making and selling products. While unexpected, if there were ever a product liability claim (faulty product, harmful ink, flammable fabric, dangerous materials, etc.), the legal costs would potentially devastate a small business (especially sole proprietors who don’t have a corporate veil protecting personal assets). Additionally, attorneys would unquestionably add Phi Beta Sigma to the claim since the product was licensed. Therefore, any company wishing to use the trademarks of Phi Beta Sigma must protect themselves and the Fraternity against unexpected claims. The cost for a $1 million policy ranges from $500 and up, depending on the type of products being sold and the state where the insurance is held.
Q: How do you ensure that vendors accurately report their sales?
Our licensing partner, Affinity Consultants, manages an official shopper program that allows customer-submitted receipts to be matched with reported sales, among other strategic auditing methods. They engage in these accountability measures in order to maintain a fair, level playing field among all of our licensed vendors.
Q: What happens if a vendor decides to not comply with Phi Beta Sigma’s trademark rights?
While we make every attempt to be educational and proactive with the hope that all vendors will cooperate with Phi Beta Sigma’s trademark rights, we realize that some will regrettably refuse to comply with our licensing requirements. When that happens, our licensing partner, Affinity Consultants, will follow up with all known cases of infringement until the vendor complies with our trademark rights. If a vendor continues to utilize our marks outside of a license agreement, we may have no choice but to turn the case over to our attorneys. Also, we will require that vendors pay back royalties from the date that Phi Beta Sigma and/or Affinity Consultants first made the vendor aware of our ownership rights. Past infringements must be reported and royalties paid before we will approve any past infringing company as a licensee of Phi Beta Sigma.