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Frequently asked questions about licensing

Q: What is the current licensing structure of our organization?
A: Affinity Consultants administers the trademarks for Kiwanis International. This includes Kiwanis, Circle K, Key Club, Builders Club, K-Kids, and Aktion Club.

Q: Who are Affinity Consultants?
A: Affinity Consultants is a licensing agency that Kiwanis partnered with to support our trademark licensing program. They offer our organization administrative support for license applications, license agreements, royalty reporting, brand compliance, design review, enforcement and other activities related to trademark licensing.

Q: Where can I find more information about Affinity Consultants?
A: https://affinitylicensing.com/

Q: What fees are associated with becoming a licensed vendor?
A:  The application fee is $20 and the royalty rate is 10% of sales. There is an annual renewal fee of $20.

Q: Why were the two programs (Kiwanis Affiliate Brand & Kiwanis International) administered differently during the past Kiwanis year?
A: We have been working with Affinity for a brief time to evaluate if they fit our needs as an organization.  Based the results from the 2017-18 administrative year, we have decided to move forward and broaden our relationship.

Q: What are Kiwanis International’s trademarks?
A: Some of our primary trademarks are listed below. However, Kiwanis International claims ownership of any logo, nickname or tagline that is used to conduct business, including non-registered trademarks. Any and all commercial use of these marks (or any marks that are confusingly similar) must be granted through a Kiwanis License Agreement.

Trademarks include, but are not limited to:

  • Name “Kiwanis International”, “Key Club International”, “Circle K International”, “Builders Club”, “K-Kids”, “Aktion Club”
  • Nickname “Key Club”, “Circle K”, “Kiwanis”
  • Logos or wordmarks

Q: Who needs to become licensed?
A: Any group or individual that wish to trade on the goodwill associated with Kiwanis International marks and benefit commercially from utilization of those marks must become licensed in order to do so. A vendor is not required to become licensed in order to resell products produced by a licensed manufacturer, so long as they do not further embellish the product or expand on the use of the insignia. (Example: a licensed decal cannot be added to a cup without gaining licensing approval for the cup).

Q: Does my club or district need to obtain a license?
A: The vendor who is selling merchandise to your club or district must apply for the license.

Q: I thought that if I was having a vendor make merchandise and not reselling it, then licensing didn’t apply.  Why did that change?
A: Our licensing program states that you must procure goods only from licensed vendors. It does not matter if they are for club usage or for resale. Any vendor producing goods with Kiwanis International marks must have permission to do so.

Q: What items are considered promotional merchandise?
A: Promotional merchandise pertains to most items you would find in the Kiwanis Catalog. Wearable items such as apparel, accessories, jewelry, pins, awards, gifts, pens, lanyards, keychains, drinkware, etc. Printed materials such as brochures, fliers, agendas, invitations and envelopes are not considered promotional merchandise.

Q: My club has a design we want printed on an item. What is the process?
A: In order to have the item printed, you will need to place the order through a licensed vendor. Click here for a current list of licensed vendors and select Kiwanis International or view the vendor list on the Kiwanis Affiliate websites.

Q: Will we still be able to use our local vendors for Kiwanis International branded items?
A: Yes, however they will need to become authorized licensed vendors.

Q: How can my local shop become licensed?
A: If you have a specific vendor in mind and they are not yet licensed for Kiwanis International, they may request a license by going to https://affinitylicensing.com/licensing.

Q: Where can I find all Kiwanis International merchandise now?
A: You can find merchandise through any licensed vendor, the Kiwanis Family Store or through any retailer that carries licensed goods. You will be able to identify Kiwanis International licensed goods by the “Official Licensed Product” hologram decal required on all items.

Q: Do members of Kiwanis International need to become licensed in order to utilize the insignia?
A: A member’s right to use the organization’s insignia is limited to noncommercial personal use (the process of recognizing oneself as a member). Outside of this limited use, members are required to follow the same legal obligations as other vendors. Consistent with fair trade practices, Kiwanis International has equitable terms for all vendors, regardless of whether or not an owner or employee may be a member of the organization.

Q: Does licensing apply for custom orders and/or if the order is placed by a club or member?
A: Yes, licensing applies whenever a commercial transaction containing a Kiwanis International’s marks takes place. Moreover, neither individual clubs nor members of the organization have the right to grant commercial use of the trademarks to a third party. Only Kiwanis International has that authority as the sole trademark owner.

Q: Will my prices increase once the vendor I utilize becomes licensed?
A: Vendors may decide to increase pricing if they were not part of our licensing program previously or for any other reason at any time. This is not a certainty, but it is possible. Kiwanis International does not set prices in the marketplace. If vendors were licensed prior to this year and applied for an Affinity contract, we have not noticed an increase in prices as a result of our relationship with Affinity.

However, if a vendor was selling goods with Kiwanis trademarks outside of a licensing agreement (in violation of our current policy) – they may decide to adjust their pricing and pass their administrative costs along to the customer. How vendors price their merchandise varies widely and we encourage clubs and members to shop around for the best pricing in their market. We evaluate the impact of pricing regularly and actively work to keep costs lower to minimize any impact to our members. For example, the licensing fee was previously $100 for vendors to join and we have lowered it to $20. Vendors only pay royalties based on the sales generated from our trademarks and the same fee is assessed for all goods.

Q: How does licensing benefit members of Kiwanis International?
A: Licensing benefits our members because it is the best way to ensure that members receive quality products and services that adhere to Kiwanis’ standards and positively represent their membership in our service organization. Additionally, royalties collected ultimately benefit members in the long run because they support educational programming, leadership training, etc.

Q: Why is partnering with Affinity Consultants good for Kiwanis International?
A: Just like any other form of physical property, our brand has to be taken care of in order to maintain its value and strength. These trademarks deserve protection. We have partnered with Affinity Consultants and established a licensing program in order to protect and prevent the loss of our trademarks and to generate revenue for Kiwanis International. Affinity is the known leader in representing the brand interests and managing the licensing programs for membership-based clients, including sororities, fraternities, honorary societies, professional organizations, trade associations and specialty properties.

Q: The vendor that I work with got a letter about licensing. What is that about?
A: Affinity Consultants has sent notifications to vendors who may be producing merchandise without our permission. Some of those vendors are forwarding them on to our clubs and members. Affinity does not send any notifications to clubs or members on our behalf – only to vendors who may be utilizing our trademarks to sell their goods without our permission.

The intent is to notify the vendor of our program as we understand that in good faith they may not have understood or been aware. The letter also invites them to become an authorized licensee for Kiwanis International.

Vendor information

Q: What is the cost to apply for, and maintain, a license?
A: There is a $20 non-refundable application fee. The royalty is 10% of gross sales and a $20 annual renewal fee.

Q: Does Kiwanis International require a royalty advance or minimum?
A: No, there are no royalty advances or minimums.

Q: What information needs to be provided in royalty reports?
A: Royalty reports must contain transaction detail including customer information (last name, university/club, or company name), date, invoice number, product description, quantity, price per unit, and gross sales total.

Q: How can royalty reports and payments be submitted?
A: Royalty reports can be uploaded to the Affinity Gateway at https://affinitylicensing.com/. While most file types are accepted, the most common are PDF or Excel spreadsheets. Payments can also be made through the Affinity Gateway via secure e-check. If you submit reports and pay online, you do not need to mail the reports. 90 percent of vendors report and pay online (the most efficient and confirmable method); however, we accept mail, email, or fax reports and mailed checks or money orders.

Q: What file types are accepted for design submissions?
A: Designs can be submitted as .jpg, .png, or .gif. The proposed design should be submitted as a mock-up on the product so that size and placement of the insignia is visible.

Q: What is the standard response time for design submissions?
A: Designs are typically reviewed within 2-3 business days (excluding holidays). The response time may be longer if the design contains questionable content. A design can be expedited (24-hour review) for a fee of $3.75.

Q: What is the difference between wholesalers and retailers?
A: Wholesalers sell to other stores or businesses in large quantities. Retailers sell to customers in smaller quantities. Custom club orders (among other types) are considered retail sales. Both types of businesses require licensing agreements.

Q: What are the benefits of being licensed?
A: There are many benefits to being licensed, including exposure on AffinityLicensing.com and Kiwanis’ custom vendor roster, and the ability to market your company as officially licensed. Becoming licensed is the only legal way to utilize these marks. Also, Kiwanis International directs members to only patronize licensed vendors and to look for vendors that are using the Official Licensed Product seal (only available to licensed vendors).

Q: Why are vendors required to submit representative samples in order to become licensed?
A: Kiwanis expects that high-quality products and services are made available to Kiwanis International members. Proposed products must be reviewed carefully in order to ensure that this expectation is met.

Q: Why must all designs be approved prior to production, marketing, and/or sale?
A: As a values-based organization, Kiwanis must ensure that these marks are only used in ways that positively reflect our standards. And, they must maintain the integrity of our brand identity. Each product or service that displays one or more of these marks will have an impact on our reputation as an organization, so we have a responsibility (and a legal right) to uphold certain guidelines related to the use of the marks.

Q: Why must all products be labeled with an Official Licensed Product hologram decal, and why must all marketing materials contain the Official Licensed Product seal?
A: Kiwanis is committed to distinguishing licensed products from unauthorized, infringing goods.  Therefore, we participate in an official labeling system. Each hologram decal contains a unique serial number, which allows us to match products with licensed vendors, and indicates to consumers that the product is genuine. We educate members to look for the Official Licensed Product (OLP) seal prior to patronizing a vendor, highlighting the importance of utilizing the seal in all forms of marketing and advertising.

Q: Why is maintaining a $1 million product liability insurance policy, and listing the organization as additional insured, required?
A: First and foremost, the insurance requirement is in the best interest of the company that is making and selling products. While unexpected, if there were ever a product liability claim (faulty product, harmful ink, flammable fabric, dangerous materials, etc.), the legal costs would potentially devastate a small business (especially sole proprietors who don’t have a corporate veil protecting personal assets). Additionally, attorneys would unquestionably add Kiwanis to the claim since the product was licensed. Therefore, any company wishing to use the trademarks of Kiwanis International must protect themselves and Kiwanis against unexpected claims. The cost for a $1 million policy ranges, depending on the type of products being sold and the state where the insurance is held.

Q: How do you ensure that vendors accurately report their sales?
A: Our licensing partner, Affinity Consultants, manages an official shopper program that allows customer-submitted receipts to be matched with reported sales, among other strategic auditing methods. They engage in these accountability measures in order to maintain a fair, level playing field among all licensed vendors.

Q: What happens if a vendor decides to not comply with Kiwanis International’s trademark rights?
A: While we make every attempt to be educational and proactive with the hope that all vendors will cooperate with Kiwanis International’s trademark rights, we realize that some will regrettably refuse to comply with our licensing requirements. When that happens, our licensing partner, Affinity Consultants, will follow up with all known cases of infringement until the vendor complies with our trademark rights. If a vendor continues to utilize our marks outside of a license agreement, we may have no choice but to turn the case over to our attorneys. Also, we will require that vendors pay back royalties from the date that Kiwanis International, Kiwanis Affiliates, and/or Affinity Consultants first made the vendor aware of our ownership rights. Past infringements must be reported and royalties paid before we will approve any past infringing company as a licensee of Kiwanis International.

Q: Who do I contact if I have questions?
A: Kiwanis International – licensing@kiwanis.org  1-800-KIWANIS
B: Affinity Consultants – Melissa Jean-Baptiste  760-734-6764 ext. 140