September 1, 2014


In a conversation with License India, Michelle Minieri, President of Bradford Licensing LLC elaborated about the importance of licensing agents and their model of operating.How is a licensing agent’s role significant from the view point of a prospective licensee as well as a licensor?From the perspective o...

By Shipra

In a conversation with License India, Michelle Minieri, President of Bradford Licensing LLC elaborated about the importance of licensing agents and their model of operating.

How is a licensing agent’s role significant from the view point of a prospective licensee as well as a licensor?
From the perspective of a licensor, the licensing agent—Bradford in this case—provides comprehensive professional services in order for the licensor’s brand to ultimately become a success in the marketplace.

Once a client is signed, Bradford formulates a strategic vision for the client. As a precedent our experts internally assess brand equities, determine unique advantages for the program, and evaluate the overall market value of the licensor’s brand. In a word: as long as a licensing agent maintains integrity and genuine enthusiasm for the licensor’s brand, licensing agents are indeed the licensor’s best friend!

From the licensee’s perspective, a licensing agent’s most important assets are twofold. The value of the brand itself that the licensing agent represents is crucial. Obviously, a struggling and relatively unknown brand is rarely appealing to a licensee, since it provides little incentive to commit to a potentially risky license. On the other hand, if the brand is somewhat established and demonstrates promise in the marketplace, the licensee values the licensing agent’s relationship to the licensor. In this regard, the licensee wants to be assured that there will be no discrepancies in doing business with the licensing agent on behalf of the licensor.

Which categories of licensing do you provide your services to? Which categories do you serve the most?
Bradford has licenses spanning the globe in various categories and channels of distribution. We work with licensees of all varieties—from plush toys for tots, to fancy sports lines of apparel, to high-end beauty care products, to vintage and commemorative merchandise.

As is standard in the licensing industry, the apparel category tends to serve as the catalyst for generating successful products, which then tend to expand into other categories. For this reason, apparel comprises a substantial portion of our current licenses. Following this would be related accessories such as bags and footwear.

What is the investment of a licensor In a licensing deal?
The licensor simply invests trust in the licensing program, and faith in the brand’s image. The licensor also agrees to grant exclusive rights to the licensee with respect to the particular category for which the end products will sell. Depending on the circumstances, the licensor may invest marketing funds for advertising and publicity.

How does a licensing agreement work in favour of a licensee or how does it protect the interests of a licensee?
It gives the licensee exclusive rights to the brand’s image for whichever specific categories have been assigned to the licensee. In other words, no other licensee/retailer can use this brand image in the same category of those now consigned to the licensee.

What is the usual duration of a valid licensing deal? How often does the deal need to be renewed usually?
It can vary anywhere from 2-10 years, depending on the circumstance. Deals are reviewed three months prior to expiration and renewed if the licensee has met his/her defined goals and expectations.

In a well-framed licensing agreement (that developed by an agent) what does a licensor look forward to or how is he/she benefited by such an agreement?
The guarantee and sales projections. The guarantee tells the licensor, above all, how much money he or she will receive from the licensee once the agreement is signed, based on the licensees projections and distribution plan. This can be paid all at once, or with an initial payment followed by increments within the first few years of distribution. However, the guarantee also tells the licensor how much dedication and confidence the licensee has in the brand and its effective distribution in the marketing place. The licensor also values specific terms and conditions in the agreement that address the plan for marketing funds, effective advertising and other versions of proactive publicity. These features of the agreement can excite the licensor in terms of anticipating the brand’s value and notoriety in the marketplace for the near future.

What fundamental procedures are involved in structuring a licensing agreement?
In structuring a licensing agreement, Bradford uses legal council to draft an appropriate contract, stipulating all the relevant deal terms as negotiated with the licensee. The main business terms include: royalty rate, minimum guarantee, advance upon signing, sales projections, product categories, territory, distribution channels, price points, and term of contract. With these points, we are able to draft an agreement and review with the licensee, ensuring all parties are content with the development and execution of the contract.

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