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Sublicensing vs. Certifying
While licensees/original certificate holders must complete the BPI Certification process in order to manufacture BPI-certified compostable products, companies that want to sell certified products that have been privately labeled with their own company brand must first sign a Sublicense Agreement with both the licensee and BPI.  This agreement allows the sublicensee to use the BPI Certification Marks on sublicensed products and packaging but doesn’t allow them to manufacture any BPI-certified products themselves.

When is a Sublicense Necessary?

If a company (i.e., a distributor) purchases BPI-certified products for resale purposes that only display the original certificate holder’s brand name, then a sublicense isn’t required.

If a company (i.e., a restaurant) purchases BPI-certified products that display both the manufacturer’s identifier/brand name and the company’s brand name for in-house use and not resale purposes (i.e., custom prints), then a sublicense isn’t required.

If a company purchases BPI-certified products that display both the manufacturer's identifier/brand name and the company’s brand name for resale purposes (i.e., co-branding), then a sublicense is required.  Either the licensee’s or sublicensee’s cert number can be used on the sublicensed products and packaging.

Identification of Product(s) to Sublicense
The first step in the sublicense process is deciding which BPI-certified product(s) to sublicense.  Not all BPI-certified products are eligible for sublicensing, while others require additional considerations before a sublicense can be granted.  Resins and components, for instance, cannot be sublicensed, while pet waste bags are restricted to distribution in Canada only.  The sublicensed product must be completely covered by the tests conducted for certification by the licensee.  For example, if packaging film uses a hot-sealed edge that is not covered by the original film certificate's disintegration test, the film cannot be directly sublicensed.)

If you’re a company looking to sublicense from a BPI Member, please visit our searchable catalog for a list of BPI-certified products, and let BPI know if you need help contacting any Member companies to set up a Sublicense Agreement.  You will need approval from the licensee in order to move forward with the sublicense process.

The BPI Sublicensing Process

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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