In 1986, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (“Port Authority”) sold the rights to use 3 little words to a Delaware non-profit organization.
The Port Authority has regretted that decision ever since.
Those “3 little words” are “World Trade Center,” and the Port Authority, along with thousands of other companies, now pays a pretty penny for the licensing rights to use “World Trade Center” in its merchandise and advertising. This right is especially important to the Port Authority’s current project: rebuilding the two (2) trade centers tragically destroyed 12 years ago today.
Should you be interested in joining the ranks and owning a license to “World Trade Center,” get ready to pay a bit more than $10.00. The World Trade Centers Association, the non-profit that owns the rights to “World Trade Center,” charges an initial $200,000.00 fee for the right to use these words, then charges an additional $10,000.00 fee every subsequent year for the continued use of the license.
And don’t think living outside of the United States means unlimited use of the words “World Trade Center” without these steep fees: the World Trade Centers Association has trademarked “World Trade Center” in more than 100 countries.
So what is the lesson here? Never underestimate the value of $10.00 or the importance of a trademark.