Recently, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the trade association responsible for Bluetooth® specification development, qualification of products and owner of Bluetooth Trademarks, reported it has seen an increase in the number of promotional products that include Bluetooth branding being stopped and held by U.S. Customs. According to Kathleen Komin, marketing coordinator, brand management at Bluetooth SIG, the following steps should be taken to prevent Bluetooth-branded goods from being stopped in transit and the potential loss of time and money spent to resolve these customs issues. 

When co-branding an already qualified product (such as speakers, headphones, GPS devices, etc.) only members of the Bluetooth SIG with properly qualified and declared products may display, feature or use the Bluetooth Trademarks. Clients planning to co-brand an end-product with Bluetooth technology must be a member of the Bluetooth SIG to be properly licensed to use their brand name in relation to the Bluetooth Trademarks. They must also ensure the product has been properly qualified and listed via the Bluetooth Qualification Process by the original manufacturer. Adopter-level membership is free. Learn more about joining the Bluetooth SIG here: 

A product with Bluetooth technology cannot be distributed generically, the owner of the product must be clearly understood. Therefore, the product would carry the primary brand of the original manufacturer and two co-brands: Bluetooth and the client. 

Single branding an already qualified product: If your client plans to purchase a product with Bluetooth technology and wants to brand it solely with their own brand, an additional step must be taken to the two already listed here. Your client must be a member of the Bluetooth SIG and must ensure the product has been properly qualified and listed, as outlined here, plus they are required to purchase their own listing. See Bluetooth Qualifications Overview Process here: Assuming the client is purchasing an already-qualified product, your client will inherit the testing completed by the manufacturer. If your client is re-branding the product as their own, they must have their own listing to satisfy IP license requirements. 

Questions about Bluetooth branding should be directed to


Tina Filipski is editor of PPB.