Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

USMC wants more of its licensed products to be Made in the USA.

Ever buy a product with a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) logo on it? Chances are that hat, T-shirt, or novelty item is officially licensed through the Marines, with companies paying a fee to use the branding on their product.

It’s easy to see why companies would want to use a Marines logo or one of the USMC’s 175 trademarked names or slogans — think “The Few, The Proud” or “Semper Fidelis.” The Marines (along with the other military branches) are ranked as the most patriotic of U.S. brands. More than 400 licensed companies currently sell USMC branded merchandise — and the American public spends $40 million on the stuff each year.

And now the USMC is taking steps to better align its licensing policy with its Made in America brand identity.

The Marine Corps Trademark Office has introduced a reduced royalty rate for Federal Trade Commission (FTC) compliant Made in USA products — 2.5 percent net and 3.5 percent wholesale — as an incentive to increase U.S.-based manufacturing by current and potential licensees, according to Jessica O’Haver, the director of the Marine Corps Trademark Office. The rate for non-USA products is 10 percent net and 12 percent wholesale.

The USMC has licensed its brand identity for five years, and several companies already license USMC products that are Made in America, including Zippo, Ontario Knife Company, Our True Hero, Heritage Metalworks, Inc., and the flag maker Annin. A number of other companies offer some (but not all) Made in the USA products.

The Marines hope the reduced rate will spread the word to companies interested in adding a USMC logo to their American-made product lines and provide a boost to U.S. manufacturing.

Here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), we’re excited to see the Marines taking proactive steps to increase the number of licensees producing Made in America products — and we hope the rest of the military follows suit.

We’re not just talking about novelty items, either.

A strong domestic manufacturing base is essential for a strong national defense. A decline in U.S. manufacturing over the past decade — more than 63,000 factories closed since 2001 — has meant the military has been forced to rely on foreign suppliers for the hardware, weapons and other parts needed to keep us safe. Overreliance of those global supply chains is dangerous, since it leaves us vulnerable to disruptions in supplies that could put our armed forces at risk. 

It’s not just on the military to solve this problem — there are a number of things policymakers can do to strengthen the military supply chain, including increasing investment in high-tech industries and strengthening Buy America preferences for military procurement.

But in the meantime, we salute the Marine Corps for its efforts to support American manufacturers and the production of more Made in America products.

Interested in licensing with the USMC? You can find out more about the Marine Corps Trademark Licensing Program by clicking here.