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June 8, 2016
And The Brand Played On: How Yesterday's Tech Icons Live On Through Licensing Deals
 
The owner of a new rainbow-emblazoned camera peers through its tiny viewfinder and pushes a shutter button. A few moments later, a photo emerges. As baby boomers might surmise, the camera carries the brand of Polaroid, the company at which this camera’s instant photo technology was developed. But this isn't 1974. It's 2016.

Polaroid spun out the instant print technology this camera uses years ago into a company called Zink. And the camera—the Polaroid Snap—is actually produced by a company called C&A Marketing, a licensee of the Polaroid brand.

Licensing was a $241.5 billion industry in 2014, according to the Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association. Some of its major players include celebrities, sports leagues, characters, and franchises that span apparel, food, furniture, video games, and toys. That last area is a particularly fertile ground for licensing: Shop for a Lego play set these days, for example, and you'll be dazzled by the variety of intellectual property the company has licensed brick by brick, including Star Wars, Batman, Angry Birds, Marvel heroes, The Hobbit, Minecraft, and on and on.

In electronics, licensing has also become more commonplace in the past few years as companies have sought to leverage their brands outside of their core categories or geographies. In 2008, Philips turned its Philips and Magnavox brands over to Japan's Funai for TVs in the U.S. The deal eventually soured. However, Toshiba is following suit with Taiwan’s Compai. And Hong Kong's Binatone licenses the Motorola brand for a range of accessories.

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This article was published on Fast Company. A link to the original piece appears after the post. www.fastcompany.com
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