The NYPD trademarks (the letters NYPD and the NYPD shield logo) are recognized around the world as identifying the world’s finest: the New York City Police Department. However, prior to 1995, no significant efforts had been taken to protect or enforce the NYPD’s rights in these trademarks. Street vendors and souvenir shops catering to tourists openly sold NYPD merchandise.
In July 2001, the Police Commissioner granted the Foundation the right to use and license the name, trademarks and logos of the NYPD on merchandise for sale to the public. The Foundation began exploring the preventive and corrective measures that would be necessary to protect the NYPD trademarks, given the decades of neglect that had preceded its projected efforts.
Less than two months later, following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the market for NYPD merchandise surged as members of the public looked for ways to demonstrate their support for the NYPD. As a result, sales of unauthorized goods dramatically increased, and the Foundation began an aggressive enforcement campaign to shield the public from counterfeit merchandise and protect the value of the NYPD trademarks in the face of rampant unauthorized sales.
Not only did it accomplish the protection and enforcement of the NYPD trademarks, the Foundation laid the groundwork to support a broad licensing program for NYPD products, including the following:
- Negotiating a contract, including an advance plus royalties, for a first-ever book using official NYPD photographs. “Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11, 2001.
- Executing over 50 multi-year license agreements, for the manufacture and sale of a variety of products – from hats and t-shirts to toys and mugs – bearing the NYPD trademarks.
- Created an on-line store for the sale of licensed NYPD products.
In the summer of 2003, the Mayor’s office created NYC Marketing to supervise and coordinate the protection of all New York City intellectual property and related licensing efforts. As a result, the licensing program developed by the Foundation was merged with NYC Marketing and is now part of a broad partnership with the Mayor’s office which delivers revenue to all City agencies, including the NYPD. This arrangement resulted in a revenue-producing stream that continues to grow for the benefit of the NYPD.