The importance of licensing properties

Licensed intellectual property has seen significant gains throughout the global pandemic. As consumers have had to cope with shelter in place regulations that include remote work and education, trusted brands have helped them to cope with the emotional fear of the Pandemic as well as social distancing. Intellectual Property that represents the familiar, comforts and entertains has gained even greater popularity with consumers. Beyond food and beverage, we have seen the highest reported spending on office supplies, health and fitness, housewares, beauty and cosmetics, home improvement as well as toys and hobbies during the Pandemic. 

Additionally, when Licensed IP can tap into consumer’s nostalgia for happier and safer times, those properties translated to products will do even better. Brands and IP that we all grew up with take us back to happier, more carefree times.

What are some of the IP’s that have done well?

1. Baby Yoda


In late 2019, Disney’s Star Wars franchise introduced a new IP entitled “The Mandalorian”. By far the breakout IP from the Mandalorian is “The Child” aka Baby Yoda. Incredibly popular with kids and adults of all ages, Baby Yoda taps into the nostalgia of three generations for Star Wars, as well as the cuteness of babies and the wisdom of Yoda. 

2. Emojis 


Emojis are young in age yet have become ubiquitous among all of us who use texting on our mobile devices. There are many different types of emojis, and several designers have copyrighted their emoji artwork. Companies wishing to commercialize emoji artwork generally need a license to use the artwork from the copyright owner. For example, JoyPixels grants companies’ licences to use its emoji artwork for commercial purposes via a global network of licensing agents.
JoyPixels was founded in September 2014 as a free open-source emoji set and was the first of its kind. Its success was immediate, and over the years has evolved into a leading enterprise level emoji provider.
Emoji the Iconic Brand is a global licensor of custom designed emojis based in Germany. They are the exclusive rights owner of the registered emoji® trademark in up to 35 classes and in more than 100 countries around the globe. 

3. Pokémon


Pokémon is the world's largest media franchise, with successful anime series, movies, and merchandise, with spin-off game Pokémon Go having crossed 1 billion mobile game downloads worldwide. Celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, it crosses over from kids to Millennials.

4. Hello Kitty


Another very successful Japanese based media property with long term success is Hello Kitty. Created in 1974 and  first marketed toward pre-teenage girls, Hello Kitty's image found commercial success among not only her original target audience but adolescent and adult consumers as well. A variety of products ranging from school supplies to fashion accessories to motor oil have featured the character over the years. While Hello Kitty has its ups and downs in merchandise sales, it is currently experiencing tremendous popularity once again.

5. Harry Potter


The Harry Potter franchise is based on the seven novels by J.K. Rowling. The franchise naturally lends itself to the category of stationery and paper goods due to its literate nature and appeal to creativity and imagination.

6. Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Inc. 


In the U.S. market, NBC/Universal’s hit comedy TV show, “The Office” Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Inc. is a fictional paper and office supply sales company where the comedy takes place. Originally, the company was completely fictitious, but eventually, the brand was used to sell premium products at Staples, a U.S. based office supply retailer with over 1000 locations and other office supply outlets. 

Strong licences play an important role in assortment planning and shop design. Because licensed IP can drive greater sales by tapping into consumers emotional connections. At the Insights-X in October, you can also discover license articles in the office, school and hobby categories for the business year ahead.

For more information on how to use licensing to drive greater sales feel free to email at 

About the author:

Steven Ekstract is Managing Director of Global Licensing Advisors, a consultancy that provides companies with insight and strategic direction to succeed in the $300 billion a year licensing business. Ekstract is the founder and former Publisher of License Global magazine, the leading information source for the consumer licensing business. 

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