UO signs licensing agreement

The UO has signed a seven-year agreement with Fermata Partners, a Georgia-based firm co-owned by a UO graduate, to help expand the university’s trademark licensing program.

The contract moves the university into a model used by most other major institutions for handling the licensing of its logos and trademarks on apparel, sporting goods and numerous other consumer products. Fermata Partners will be the initial point of contact for licensing agreements, billing, royalties, trademark protection and related matters and will provide regular reports on various facets of the merchandising program.

But the UO will retain final decision-making authority and control of trademark licensing, including approval of all designs, agreements and intellectual property matters, said Matthew Dyste, the UO’s director of marketing and brand management. Fermata will provide marketplace expertise, an administrative structure and industry relationships to help the university maintain its existing brand presence and expand it to new markets here and around the world.

“We are excited about expanding the University of Oregon brand through our new partnership with Fermata Partners. Fermata will help expand the university’s relationships with licensees and retailers in the state and across the country,” said Matt Dyste, the UO’s Director of Marketing and Brand Management. “We will continue to work with our licensees to deliver Duck merchandise to our students, alumni and fans.” Currently, almost 400 companies are licensed to use University of Oregon trademarks.

Fermata is co-owned by Chris Prindiville, a 1996 graduate of the Lundquist College of Business. Based in Atlanta, the company has been operating for three years and counts the University of Georgia, University of Kentucky and University of Miami among its clients, along with businesses such as Cabela’s and organizations such as Little League Baseball.

 “We are humbled by the invitation to sit alongside the university to advance and amplify Oregon’s brand through the touch point of consumer products,” Prindiville said. “Once a Duck, always a Duck.”

As part of this transition, the university and Fermata will soon begin adding all currently approved rights and contract terms to Fermata’s administrative portal. The rights of all current license holders, including those based in Oregon, remain in effect.

Dyste said the process will be seamless for all in-state license holders and will not affect their current agreements. Fermata also will be contacting Oregon licensees to walk them through the transition process and will work with UO staff to support in-state suppliers.

Most large universities, such as Michigan and Texas, work with an agency to manage trademark licensing. Among the other Oregon universities using such a model are Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Portland.

 “Fermata will help accelerate and further enrich the university’s efforts to bring Oregon merchandise to Duck fans everywhere,” UO Athletics Director Rob Mullens said. “We are proud of our alliances with licensees and retailers across the country and we will remain innovative and progressive in our approach to telling the Oregon story.”

—By Greg Bolt, Public Affairs Communications