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OU Licensing Department Achieves National Honors

The University of Oklahoma Licensing Department is the recipient of the 2014 Synergy Award: Program of the Year.

The University of Oklahoma Licensing Department is the recipient of the 2014 Synergy Award: Program of the Year, officials with the International Collegiate Licensing Association announced today.

“We are honored to receive this award which honors the University’s pioneering work in teaching and practical experience for our students in the area of intellectual property in sports,” said OU President David L. Boren.

During the past year, OU created a curriculum for and began teaching Licensing and Intellectual Property in Sports, an undergraduate course offered through the Price College of Business and an elective in the new sports management concentration and minor.   The University continued the expansion of OU’s Sooner Jr. program, a youth-focused community outreach program that emphasizes the importance of being F.A.N.S. (fitness fun, academics, nutrition and sportsmanship) and utilizes OU coaches and student-athletes to deliver this message through in-school assemblies and community appearances.

The department also launched the fifth annual ‘There’s Only One Oklahoma’ program, which allows fans to select T-shirt designs, and released the third installment of the History of Oklahoma Football DVD merchandise program with Original Retro Brand and Top of the World. 

“We had some outstanding programs from across the country nominated for the Synergy Award this year,” said Association President Marty Ludwig, director, trademarks and licensing at Cincinnati. “I'm especially pleased to see the team at the University of Oklahoma be recognized as the recipient of the 2014 Synergy Award. Their work truly embodies the spirit of the award, making them a great example to inspire our members to innovate and collaborate with colleagues on their respective campuses.”

The University of Oklahoma’s brand is recognized nationally and internationally.  OU's Office of Trademark Licensing is an extension of OU's overall branding efforts and serves to promote OU through licensed products and other licensing arrangements, preserve OU's history by protecting historically significant and important trademarks; protect OU's image and reputation through trademark usage and ensure that the only entities using the University’s trademarks for commercial purposes have the legal right to do so; and maintain a revenue stream from the sale of officially licensed merchandise and other licensing agreements, which funds various academic and athletic programs.

Leading OU’s Licensing Department is Renata Hays, assistant athletics director for branding and licensing, who currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Collegiate Licensing Association.

Other staff members include Shelly Terry, assistant director for branding & licensing; Paul Mills, university brand representative for the Licensing Resource Group; Ben Habern, OU licensing graduate assistant; and Trina Kizer, who oversees OU’s crafter’s program, which offers more than 150 crafters the opportunity to obtain a license with OU.

The OU Licensing Department is guided by the University’s Trademark Administrative Committee whose members represent a wide range of University departments.  In addition to Hays, Committee members are Catherine Bishop, Vice President for Public Affairs; Anil Gollahalli, Vice President of the University of Oklahoma and General Counsel to the OU Board of Regents; Kenny Mossman, Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations; John Sarantakos, Administrator for Printing, Mailing and Document Services; and Erin Yarbrough, Associate Vice President for Web Communications, Marketing and New Media.