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TITLE 43TRANSPORTATION
PART 10TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES
CHAPTER 217VEHICLE TITLES AND REGISTRATION
SUBCHAPTER BMOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION
RULE §217.52Marketing of Specialty License Plates through a Private Vendor

(a) Purpose and scope. The department will enter into a contract with a private vendor to market department-approved specialty license plates in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter 504, Subchapter J. This section sets out the procedure for approval of the design, purchase, and replacement of vendor specialty license plates. In this section, the license plates marketed by the vendor are referred to as vendor specialty license plates.

(b) Application for approval of vendor specialty license plate designs.

  (1) Approval required. The vendor shall obtain the approval of the board for each license plate design the vendor proposes to market in accordance with this section and the contract entered into between the vendor and the department.

  (2) Application. The vendor must submit a written application on a form approved by the executive director to the department for approval of each license plate design the vendor proposes to market. The application must include:

    (A) a draft design of the specialty license plate;

    (B) projected sales of the plate, including an explanation of how the projected figure was determined;

    (C) a marketing plan for the plate including a description of the target market;

    (D) a licensing agreement from the appropriate third party for any design or design element that is intellectual property; and

    (E) other information necessary for the board to reach a decision regarding approval of the requested vendor specialty plate.

(c) Review and approval process. The board will review vendor specialty license plate applications. The board:

  (1) will not consider incomplete applications; and

  (2) may request additional information from the vendor to reach a decision.

(d) Board decision.

  (1) Decision. The decision of the board will be based on:

    (A) compliance with Transportation Code, Chapter 504, Subchapter J;

    (B) the proposed license plate design, including:

      (i) whether the design meets the legibility and reflectivity standards established by the department;

      (ii) whether the design meets the standards established by the department for uniqueness to ensure that the proposed plate complies with Transportation Code, §504.852(c);

      (iii) whether the license plate design can accommodate the International Symbol of Access (ISA) as required by Transportation Code, §504.201(f);

      (iv) the criteria designated in §217.27 of this title (relating to Vehicle Registration Insignia) as applied to the design;

      (v) whether a design is similar enough to an existing plate design that it may compete with the existing plate sales; and

      (vi) other information provided during the application process.

  (2) Public comment on proposed design. All proposed plate designs will be considered by the board as an agenda item at a regularly or specially called open meeting. Notice of consideration of proposed plate designs will be posted in accordance with Office of the Secretary of State meeting notice requirements. Notice of each license plate design will be posted on the department's Internet web site to receive public comment at least 25 days in advance of the meeting at which it will be considered. The department will notify all specialty plate organizations and the sponsoring agencies who administer specialty license plates issued in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter 504, Subchapter G, of the posting. A comment on the proposed design can be submitted in writing through the mechanism provided on the department's Internet web site for submission of comments. Written comments are welcome and must be received by the department at least 10 days in advance of the meeting. Public comment will be received at the board's meeting.

(e) Final approval and specialty license plate issuance.

  (1) Approval. The board will approve or disapprove the specialty license plate application based on all of the information provided pursuant to this subchapter in an open meeting.

  (2) Application not approved. If the application is not approved, the applicant may submit a new application and supporting documentation for the design to be considered again by the board if:

    (A) the applicant has additional, required documentation; or

    (B) the design has been altered to an acceptable degree.

  (3) Issuance of approved specialty plates.

    (A) If the vendor's specialty license plate is approved, the vendor must submit the non-refundable start-up fee before any further design and processing of the license plate.

    (B) Approval of the plate does not guarantee that the submitted draft plate design will be used. The board has final approval of all specialty license plate designs and will provide guidance on the submitted draft design to ensure compliance with the format and license plate specifications.

(f) Redesign of vendor specialty license plates.

  (1) On receipt of a written request from the vendor, the department will allow a redesign of a vendor specialty license plate.

  (2) The vendor must pay the redesign administrative costs as provided in the contract between the vendor and the department.

(g) Multi-year vendor specialty license plates. Purchasers will have the option of purchasing vendor specialty license plates for a one-year, a three-year, or a five-year period.

(h) License plate categories and associated fees. The categories and the associated fees for vendor specialty plates are set out in this subsection.

  (1) Custom license plates. Custom license plates include license plates with a variety of pre-approved background and character color combinations that may be personalized with either three alpha and two or three numeric characters or two or three numeric and three alpha characters. Generic license plates on standard white sheeting with the word "Texas" that may be personalized with up to six alphanumeric characters are considered custom license plates before December 2, 2010. The fees for issuance of Custom and Generic license plates are $150 for one year, $400 for three years, and $450 for five years.

  (2) T-Plates (Premium) license plates. T-Plates (Premium) license plates may be personalized with up to seven alphanumeric characters, including the "T," on colored backgrounds or designs approved by the department. The fees for issuance of T-Plates (Premium) license plates are $150 for one year, $400 for three years, and $450 for five years.

  (3) Luxury license plates. Luxury license plates may be personalized with up to six alphanumeric characters on colored backgrounds or designs approved by the department. The fees for issuance of luxury license plates are $150 for one year, $400 for three years, and $450 for five years.

  (4) Freedom license plates. Freedom license plates include license plates with a variety of pre-approved background and character color combinations that may be personalized with up to seven alphanumeric characters. The fees for issuance of freedom license plates are $195 for one year, $445 for three years, and $495 for five years.

  (5) Background only license plates. Background only license plates include non-personalized license plates with a variety of pre-approved background and character color combinations. The fees for issuance of background only license plates are $50 for one year, $130 for three years, and $175 for five years.

  (6) Vendor souvenir license plates. Vendor souvenir license plates are replicas of vendor specialty license plate designs that may be personalized with up to 24 alphanumeric characters. Vendor souvenir license plates are not street legal or legitimate insignias of vehicle registration. The fee for issuance of souvenir license plates is $40.

  (7) Auction of alphanumeric patterns. The vendor may auction alphanumeric patterns for one, three, or five year terms with options to renew indefinitely at the current price established for a one, three, or five year luxury category license plate. The purchaser of the auction pattern may select from the vendor background designs at no additional charge at the time of initial issuance. The auction pattern may be moved from one vendor design plate to another vendor design plate as provided in subsection (n)(1) of this section. The auction pattern may be transferred from owner to owner as provided in subsection (l)(2) of this section.

  (8) Personalization and specialty plate fees.

    (A) The fee for the personalization of license plates applied for prior to November 19, 2009 is $40 if the plates are renewed annually.

    (B) The personalization fee for plates applied for after November 19, 2009 is $40 if the plates are issued pursuant to Transportation Code, Chapter 504, Subchapters G and I.

    (C) If the plates are renewed annually, the personalization and specialty plate fees remain the same fee as at the time of issuance if a sponsor of a specialty license plate authorized under Transportation Code, Chapter 504, Subchapters G and I signs a contract with the vendor in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter 504, Subchapter J.

(i) Payment of fees.

  (1) Payment of specialty license plate fees. The fees for issuance of vendor specialty license plates will be paid directly to the state through vendor and state systems for the license plate category and period selected by the purchaser. A person who purchases a multi-year vendor specialty license plate must pay upon purchase the full fee which includes the renewal fees.

  (2) Payment of statutory registration fees. To be valid for use on a motor vehicle, the license plate owner is required to pay, in addition to the vendor specialty license plate fees, any statutorily required registration fees in the amount as provided by Transportation Code, Chapter 502, and this subchapter.

(j) Refunds. Fees for vendor specialty license plate fees will not be refunded after an application is submitted to the vendor and the department has approved issuance of the license plate.

(k) Replacement.

  (1) Application. An owner must apply directly to the county tax assessor-collector for the issuance of replacement vendor specialty license plates and must pay the fee described in paragraphs (2) or (3) of this subsection, whichever applies.

  (2) Lost or mutilated vendor specialty license plates. To replace vendor specialty license plates that are lost or mutilated, the owner must pay the statutory replacement fee provided in Transportation Code, §504.007.

  (3) Optional replacements. An owner of a vendor specialty license plate may replace vendor specialty license plates by submitting a request to the county tax assessor-collector accompanied by the payment of a $6 fee.

  (4) Interim replacement tags. If the vendor specialty license plates are lost or mutilated to such an extent that they are unusable, replacement license plates will need to be remanufactured. The county tax assessor-collector will issue interim replacement tags for use until the replacements are available. The owner's vendor specialty license plate number will be shown on the interim replacement tags.

  (5) Stolen vendor specialty license plates. The county tax assessor-collector will not approve the issuance of replacement vendor specialty license plates with the same license plate number if the department's records indicate that the vehicle displaying that license plate number was reported stolen or the license plates themselves were reported stolen.

(l) Transfer of vendor specialty license plates.

  (1) Transfer between vehicles. The owner of a vehicle with vendor specialty license plates may transfer the license plates between vehicles by filing an application through the county tax assessor-collector if the vehicle to which the plates are transferred:

    (A) is titled or leased in the owner's name; and

    (B) meets the vehicle classification requirements for that particular specialty license plate.

  (2) Transfer between owners. Vendor specialty license plates may not be transferred between persons unless the license plate pattern was initially purchased through auction as provided in subsection (h)(7) of this section. An auctioned alphanumeric pattern may be transferred as a specialty license plate or as a virtual pattern to be manufactured on a new background as provided under the restyle option in subsection (n)(1) of this section. In addition to the fee paid at auction, the new owner of an auctioned alphanumeric pattern or plate will pay the department a fee of $25 to cover the cost of the transfer, and complete the department's prescribed application at the time of transfer.

(m) Gift plates.

  (1) A person may purchase plates as a gift for another person if the purchaser submits a statement that provides:

    (A) the purchaser's name and address;

    (B) the name and address of the person who will receive the plates; and

Cont'd...

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