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Sublicense FAQ

What is a sublicense?

A sublicense allows the BPI Certification Mark to be used by a customer of a BPI Member supplier on private label products for resale under the customer's brand.  It is a simple, legally binding agreement that details a product list with both the supplier’s and their customer’s product titles and SKUs.  The customer is given access to the BPI Certification Mark files, including a version with their own unique cert number to display on the sublicensed products and their packaging, and the products are listed under the customer’s name in BPI’s database of certified products online (products.bpiworld.org).

When does a company need to have a sublicense?

When a company purchases BPI-certified product from a supplier for resale purposes, REBRANDED with their own brand name INSTEAD of the supplier’s brand. 

When a company purchases BPI-certified product for resale purposes and the product carries BOTH the company’s brand AND the manufacturer’s identifier.  In this case, EITHER the supplier’s BPI cert number or the purchaser’s cert number can be displayed on the product.

In which situations is a sublicense NOT required?

When a company distributes a BPI-certified product that displays the supplier’s brand name only (i.e., a distributor or retailer that uses the original brand name). The supplier’s brand and BPI cert number are displayed and no sublicense is required.

When a company displays both their brand name and the manufacturer’s identifier on the item and the item IS NOT for resale, specifically for foodservice items used in a restaurant, cafeteria, stadium, etc.  The supplier’s BPI cert number is the one displayed.

Are there any certified materials that cannot be sublicensed to a company?

YES. BPI-certified resins, film, granules, components and intermediates are not typically sublicensed for resale purposes, only finished products. A company can purchase these materials from a supplier to use in a finished product, but the finished product must go through the certification process. This is to avoid abuse of the sublicense, where the customer may actually be manufacturing or converting the material into a finished product.

Does a sublicense authorize a company to manufacture a certified product or its packaging?

NO. All sublicensed products must be manufactured by the BPI Member supplier at authorized facilities, without exception. If any modifications, such as printing or date labeling, are made by the customer, BPI must be informed ahead of time or they risk losing the certification.

To issue a sublicense BPI needs the following:

1. BPI Sublicense Request Form  Completed with information on the licensee, sublicensee, and products

2. BPI Reseller Company Profile Form : Completed with the sublicensee’s information when the sublicensee is not a BPI member)

3. Payment The cost of the sublicense is $500 USD per year. BPI’s policy as of July 1, 2020 is that EITHER the Licensee / BPI Member OR the Sublicensee / Reseller can pay the initial annual sublicense fee and the subsequent annual renewal fee of $500 USD per year under their own company billing account. A completed company profile form from the reseller is required, including billing information, if the sublicensee will be responsible for fees. The Licensee and Sublicensee must agree to abide by the sublicense termination policy if the annual $500 fee is not paid by one of the two parties within 60 days of issuance of the invoice (i.e., sublicensees will have 6 months from the date of termination to sell through all product inventory displaying the BPI certification mark and remove all references to the BPI Certification Mark or claims from websites and promotional materials).

4. BPI Sublicense Product Worksheet:  Both companies need to submit their product lists for the sublicense to BPI on one product worksheet.  The Licensee lists their name, BPI Certificate Number(s), Product Names/ Titles, Brand(s), and SKUs in YELLOW, and the Sublicensee lists their company name, associated Product Names/Titles, Brand(s), SKUs, Thickness or Density, Colors & Printed/Unprinted, and Categories in GREEN. 

5. Artwork:  As stated in the sublicense agreement, the sublicensed products and their packaging must display the BPI Certification Mark showing the Sublicensee’s BPI Company ID Number.  Representative layouts of the product and packaging artwork showing the required display of the Certification Mark must be approved by BPI before the sublicense agreement is finalized. Learn more about displaying the BPI Certification Mark.

6. Signatures:  Once the product worksheet is submitted, the invoice is paid, and the artwork is approved, the sublicense letter is generated by BPI and sent back to the company that originally requested it. It is the responsibility of the company(s) requesting the sublicense to get signatures from both parties, not BPI.

7. Sublicense Complete Once the signed agreement is sent back to BPI, BPI will countersign and finalize the agreement.  The finalized agreement will then be emailed to the Licensee and Sublicensee.  

BPI is a science-driven organization that supports a shift to the circular economy by promoting the production, use, and appropriate end of lives for materials and products that are designed to fully biodegrade in specific biologically active environments.

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