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Tops in Blue gets boost from Air Force licensing program

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christina Kirstein
  • Air Force Public Affairs Agency
Tops in Blue, the Air Force's premier traveling entertainment troupe, was selected to receive $100,000 from the Air Force's Trademark and Licensing Office.

The T&L Office, operating out of the Air Force Public Affairs Agency in San Antonio, processes requests from entities around the world interested in using the Air Force Symbol and other Air Force intellectual properties.

"Since 2005, we have processed thousands of requests from a wide spectrum of customers: Air Force units wanting to use the Symbol on coins and briefing slides; non-profit organizations requesting to use Air Force trademarks during patriotic celebrations; and our biggest customer subset, business owners interested in placing our Air Force brand on products like clothing, furniture and game controllers," said April Rowden, Air Force Trademark and Licensing chief.

"Our Air Force brand is strong both at home and abroad, and that is reconfirmed daily through the sheer volume of requests we receive in our office."

In 2004, U.S. law authorized the military branches to identify their trademarks, license them to qualified companies and collect fees for their use.

"Through the licensing authority granted us in 10 USC 2260, we are able to collect royalties for the public's use of our trademarks. These proceeds cover our operating costs. Any remaining funds we allocate to the Air Force Personnel Center Directorate of Services to help with morale, welfare and recreation programs," Rowden said.

Recently, the Services Directorate identified Tops in Blue as the benefiting activity.

According to Jerrilynn White, Tops in Blue production director, Airmen were thrilled when they found out they were receiving the money and immediately started brainstorming ideas for special items not in their budget.

Top items on the wish listed included speaker stands to accommodate different venues, a recruiting video to solicit talent, and a new backdrop.

"We had a new U.S. flag backdrop 10 years ago, but we've used it so much it's fallen apart," said White. "It helps create a mood for the audience during our patriotic set, especially when we're overseas. It invokes a pride in people that's amazing."

In addition to the money presented to Tops in Blue, another $125,000 was provided to the Services Directorate in August.

Since the first royalty checks were collected in 2006, the Air Force Trademark and Licensing program has collected more than $1 million in royalties.

Consumers are encouraged to look for the "Officially Licensed Product of the United States Air Force" identifier on Air Force-branded products when shopping. Buying officially licensed products helps support Airmen and their families.

For more information on trademark and licensing, visit