What is Licensing?

Institutions like Colleges and Universities own the rights to their marks (the school name, mascot, seal and so forth); whether they be applied to shirts, hoodies or other apparel, or if they are used on websites or marketing material. Fraternities and sororities own the rights to their marks (Greek letters, full name, nicknames and so forth) in a similar fashion. These right are protected by US federal trademark law.

Integrity of their marks

Colleges, Universities, and Greek letter organizations grant certain companies like Kotis (called licensees) the rights to reproduce their marks. They do so with strict rules that govern how the marks can be used, what types of apparel or items they can be applied to and the quality of the method of decoration used. These rules differ by Fraternity, Sorority, College and University – each organization has its own values and particular preferences on how their marks can be used. However, there are some basic guidelines that each organization uses.

  • No defamatory, racial, sexual or derogatory language used in conjunction with their marks
  • No reference to drugs or alcohol
  • No manipulation of specific logos (such as pre-designed mascots or athletic marks)

Again, each organization is different – some are more strict regarding their logo usage, while others may be more lenient. Part of the agreement they have with their licensees is that every custom design created with their marks must be approved by their trademarks office prior to production.


In addition to protecting the integrity of their marks, colleges, Universities and Greek letter organizations use their licensing programs as a way to generate revenue. This is done through a royalty process where the licensee pays anywhere from 8-15% of the sale amount. Usually this royalty is passed through to the end person purchasing the product. For more information on how royalties are used - we suggest contacting the trademark office of your university, or your national headquarters.

Our Commitment to the Licensing Process

Kotis is fundamentally committed to the licensing process. We believe that this process allows organizations and schools to protect their brand, as well as increase the consistency and quality of the items in the marketplace that bear those marks.

We are required to send every design with a licensed mark to the respective mark owner for approval. This approval process can add additional time to the production of the order, and is outside of Kotis' control.


We are firm believers in the pursuit of better working standards across the globe; as such we are a proud member of the Fair Labor Association (FLA). We have committed to the ten Principles of Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing, and have agreed to uphold the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct.

Our Code of Conduct is below, and is posted in every facility embellishing product with Collegiate marks, translated into the primary languages spoken in the factory.

For more information on our Social Responsibility movement, please contact us at college@kotisdesign.com.

Kotis Design Workplace Code of Conduct 2018

Employment Relationship: Employers shall adopt and adhere to rules and conditions of employment that respect workers and, at a minimum, safeguard their rights under national and international labor and social security laws and regulations.

Nondiscrimination: No person shall be subject to any discrimination in employment, including hiring, compensation, advancement, discipline, termination or retirement, on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, social group or ethnic origin.

Harassment or Abuse: Every employee shall be treated with respect and dignity. No employee shall be subject to any physical, sexual, psychological or verbal harassment or abuse.

Worker Treatment and Rights: Suppliers must have a comprehensive set of employment/personnel policies and procedures that are fully communicated to their workforce.

Forced Labor: There shall be no use of forced labor, including prison labor, indentured labor, bonded labor or other forms of forced labor.

Child Labor: No person shall be employed under the age of 15 or under the age for completion of compulsory education, whichever is higher.

Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining: Employers shall recognize and respect the right of employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Health, Safety and Environment: Employers shall provide a safe and healthy workplace setting to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, linked with, or occurring in the course of work or as a result of the operation of employers’ facilities. Employers shall adopt responsible measures to mitigate negative impacts that the workplace has on the environment. At a minimum company must fully comply with all local environmental laws and regulations and shall, to the best of their ability, conserve natural resources. All waste must be disposed of legally and in an environmentally safe manner.

Hours of Work: Employers shall not require workers to work more than the regular and overtime hours allowed by the law of the country where the workers are employed. The regular work week shall not exceed 48 hours. Employers shall allow workers at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every seven-day period. All overtime work shall be consensual. Employers shall not request overtime on a regular basis and shall compensate all overtime work at a premium rate. Other than in exceptional circumstances, the sum of regular and overtime hours in a week shall not exceed 60 hours.

Compensation: Every worker has a right to compensation for a regular work week that is sufficient to meet the worker’s basic needs and provide some discretionary income. Employers shall pay at least the minimum wage or the appropriate prevailing wage, whichever is higher, comply with all legal requirements on wages, and provide any fringe benefits required by law or contract. Where compensation does not meet workers’ basic needs and provide some discretionary income, each employer shall work with the FLA to take appropriate actions that seek to progressively realize a level of compensation that does.

Overtime Compensation: In addition to their compensation for regular hours of work, employees shall be compensated for overtime hours at such premium rate as is legally required in the country of manufacture or, in those countries where such laws do not exist, at a rate at least equal to their regular hourly compensation rate.

Subcontractors: Supplier has not utilized any subcontractors without first notifying Kotis Design.

Denied Access: Suppliers must allow inspections of their records and facilities by a third party to verify compliance to our Code of Conduct, including confidential employee interviews. Inspections will be announced 1 week prior.