In 2004, Congress enacted title 10 United States Code 2260, a bill that allows the Air Force, Marines, Army, Navy and Coast Guard, to establish a trademark and licensing program.
For general information see:
Guide to DOD Seals, Logos, Insignia, and Service Medals
Branch Specific Licensing Programs
- USAF Intellectual Property is governed by Air Force Instruction 51-303
- The USAF Trademark and brand licensing program is governed by AFI 35-114.
- The US Air Force Licensing program application asks for company information, banking information, a business plan, and requires product samples.
- The USAF program has a list of licensees on their website. This can be helpful as you can research if applications for similar products have been approved previously.
- There is an FAQ for the USAF licensing program.
- Licensing policy is at Chapter 7 of this Army Regulation 2760.
- The Army Brand & Marketing Program is governed by Army Regulation 601-208
- The U.S. Army has a brand portal. Registration takes about 24 hours to be approved. The portal contains information about the licensing applications, FAQs and brand guidance.
- This article discusses the breadth the Army’s brand licensing program
- The USMC offers three different licensing programs: one for large businesses, one for small businesses, and one for hobbyists. If your sales are $5000.01 or more per year, you’ll need to fill out the licensing application for small businesses.
- If your business makes less than $5,000 per year, sells directly to your customers, and does not use an outside manufacturer, you can instead sign the Hobbyist License Agreement, pay a small fee ($25 or $50 depending on sales), and submit royalty information annually. After joining the USMC Hobbyist program, you’ll receive a Hobbyist number which should be included in all of your listings. The Hobbyist number can make your listings more compelling, as it shows customers that you are licensed!
- There is an FAQ for the USMC licensing program.
US Navy Licensing
- The Navy has an application available online through this link. The application asks for company information, business financials including banking details, and details for proposed products. If your application is approved, you will then be sent the licensing application packet.
- There is an extensive FAQ regarding the U.S. Navy licensing program.
US Coastguard Licensing
- The Coastguard has a straightforward application that requires business details, product plans, and images of product samples and advertising materials.
- There is a FAQ for the Coastguard licensing program.
National Guard Licensing
- Contact the US Army for Army National Guard, or National Guard Licensing.
- Contact the US Air Force for Air National Guard Licensing.
- For State specific National Guard crests or insignia contact the Public Affairs office for guidance on licensing.
Using Images of Military Persons, Places and Things
The Public Use Notice of Limitations covers the use of visual information containing military persons, places, and things for commercial advertisement, marketing, promotion, solicitation or fundraising purposes.
A DoD employee has an implied right to use their branches insignias, marks and trademarks without a license on personal items; however, if they are trying to use these marks in a business then they will need a license.
For Active Duty service members, this journal article explains copyright issues for work produced during courses and schools and content/items in which copyright vests where the work was produced or created on your own time.
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