SBD/June 16, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Law Firm Sends Cease-And-Desist Letter To IMG College About Antitrust Violations

CLC has about 200 clients in the retail market for collegiate licensed merchandise
DC-based law firm Dechert LLP earlier this month sent a letter to IMG College, The Collegiate Licensing Co. and 27 Football Bowl Subdivision schools “demanding that they stop what the law firm alleges is a ‘concerted effort’ to limit the number of manufacturers allowed to make collegiate apparel items sold in a wide range of retail stores,” according to Steve Berkowitz of USA TODAY. In the five-page cease-and-desist letter, attorney Steven Bradbury said he represents "various stakeholders who share a common interest in preserving competition and choice in the supply of licensed collegiate merchandise." Berkowitz reports Bradbury's clients likely are "a group of manufacturers and/or retailers.” IMG College VP/Strategic Communications Andrew Giangola in a statement said the allegations in the letter were "outrageous and unfounded." Berkowitz notes CLC, the licensing division of IMG College, “has nearly 200 clients who account for about three-fourths of the $4.3 billion retail market for collegiate licensed merchandise.” IMG is the “multimedia rights holder for more than 70 schools.” At issue is “whether the schools are violating antitrust laws by heavily narrowing the number of companies they license through CLC to produce certain items sold in certain types of stores.” Bradbury said the letter's purpose was to get IMG College, CLC and the schools to "back off this effort without litigation.” However, that “seems unlikely” (USA TODAY, 6/16).
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