Protecting the OPA Brand
Since 1993, the Greek words “Omega Phi Alpha” have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The OPA name, as well as its crest, coat of arms, Greek letters and current brand identity (logos and marks) are all protected under the trademark umbrella. This means that OPA has the right to control its insignia for use in any format.
The idea of licensing should not be unfamiliar. Most universities participate in some kind of licensing program, especially at high-profile universities with athletic programs that promote and sell branded or “officially licensed” products. The same is true for Greek organizations, although for several years manufacturers assumed fraternity and sorority trademarks were considered “public domain.” But by the year 2000, a landmark court decision in defense of Greek organizations opened up the market for Greek licensing and, by 2011, the rights were further expanded to include marks and symbols. For larger organizations, this can be challenging to manage internally.
So in order to establish continuous control over the use of OPA’s marks, assure proper usage and avoid abandonment, a licensing consultant is typically hired to manage the program. To further protect these marks from misrepresentation by manufacturers and retail operations, in July 2016, OPA entered into an agreement with Affinity Marketing Consultants (also known as GreekLicensing.com) to administer an official licensing program. This includes locating and negotiating with potential licensees that comply with OPA’s quality requirements. Affinity also will ensure that all manufacturing, marketing and distribution of products using OPA’s approved marks are done in compliance with the agreement and with OPA’s approval. Affinity will notify any companies that may be in violation of the proper use of OPA’s marks. Affinity also collects royalty payments from the licensed vendors and, after meeting the initial sales quota, OPA will also receive a share of the commission moving forward.
Through this program, OPA also can monitor the quality and types of products bearing the name Omega Phi Alpha to meet OPA’s standards with the seal “Officially Licensed Product,” whether the item is for resale externally or used internally.
See also the SOP Licensing Procedures_Chapter in the the Procedures folder in the virtual filing cabinet.
What does this mean to OPA?
Omega Phi Alpha will now only recognize certain vendors as “Authorized Licensed Vendors” of products or merchandise bearing the sorority’s name or symbols. These vendors work in cooperation with the OPA’s professional staff to develop and market OPA products and services to consistently reflect OPA values. OPA recommends that all visual marketing and promotional materials contain one of the approved and official OPA brand identity marks.
If your chapter is producing or selling anything that potentially has the “Omega Phi Alpha” name on the product, you will need to order it through one of OPA’s licensed vendors. Since this is a new program and the list of vendors is growing, we want everyone to ask their usual vendors to apply to become licensed. Vendors interested in becoming licensed to produce OPA products should visit Affinity’s website or contact Melissa Jean-Baptiste, Affinity account services, at 760-734-6764, ext. 140, or by email.
Please review the Omega Phi Alpha Brand Standards guide (found on OPA’s website under Members>Resources) for official insignia, brand identity and appropriate uses. Licensed vendors have access to official vector artwork via Affinity’s online gateway.
Proposed artwork by vendors is reviewed and approved within 48 hours of submittal to OPA’s online portal at Affinity.
How can I use the OPA logo?
Please email the vice president of communications to obtain official logos/marks for one-time use. If the vendor you want to use is not an official OPA licensed vendor, and the logo/mark is being requested for more than a one-time use, this request will not be fulfilled due to branding restrictions. Using the name Omega Phi Alpha without proper consent is trademark infringement and will be treated as such.
See the Revised Chapter Website Procedure
OPA has updated some of the guidelines for chapter websites. Please review the procedure in the virtual filing cabinet/national handbook.
We appreciate your help in protecting the name, insignia and logos of Omega Phi Alpha.
Thea Moritz (Beta), VP Communications