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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good day all and many thanks in advance for your help. I was walking my dogs one day and had a great idea for a tee shirt (2 ideas actually). I jumped on this immediately and googled the hell out of it to make sure I was not under any licensing agreements with the pro team they are geared at. after leaking to small audience and knowing these would sell I ordered over 1000 in various colors in the two designs. well i started a facebook page and talked to two stores to carry them. Apparently another guy created the same "phrase" but the designs are entirely different and has been selling for a few weeks before me w/o my knowledge. I googled the phrase and everything and never found anything. I even paid the $35 to copyright my "design" but the phrase can't be trademarked or copyright can it? They saw my shirt on someone and have been blowing up my facebook cursing and contacting people that have posted on wanting them. I messaged them nicely and then blocked them from viewing anymore. As a business owner I want to make sure I cover my *** against these guys. I figured there is really nothing either of us can do. I've read into it and sounds like you can't copy the EXACT design but that the phrase is fair game? it is a line from a popular song and one of the words replaced with the team mascot name.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
no no no no... i'm not upset at all b/c my design is getting huge feedback. He made his design a month or so ago. I made mine and he finally saw it and found me on facebook (my tee shirt business page) and started talking mad $hit. Luckily facebook is genius and there is a block and delete button. I was just making sure he couldn't do anything but after further research and talking with the company that printed the shirts for me they said nothing either of us can do (which I could care less to try and shut him down). They print out of new york and said there are a hundred different LINsanity tees going around.

Our shirts we came up with is same phrase just different design. His are kind of corny and cheesy (only one color) and seems only middle aged people are buying. Mine are just like the Nike big letter tees that are out and the younger crowd are loving em (plus I have 3 different colors as well as a whole seperate design). Not to mention I started a facebook page and website and partnered with several local businesses to sell and market (I graduated Business w/ entrepreneur minor). This jackass is selling them on craigslist.

The song if you would like to know is Rick Ross Every day I'm hustlin' (replaced the hustlin'). His craigslist ad states inspired by the LMFAO song Every day i'm shufflin'. So first off he's an idiot b/c LMFAO stole that from Rick Ross (he'd know that if he wasn't 45 years old). Second his shirt says Everyday I'm... when it should be two words Every day I'm... So there is a difference b/w ours but he insists I'm "stealing" his idea and is blowing me up with cursing etc
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
but i have copyrighted my actual designs so no one can use that. i looked into and looks like much harder to get the phrase actually trademarked or intellectual property as there are a hundred shirts with the Hustlin' or Shufflin' word replaced. Guy is just pissed b/c he knows mine are way better and put him out of business
 

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Last month it was a vendor outside the Atlanta Arena when the Knicks came to town selling "Every Day I'm ShuffaLIN" t-shirts with the big block letters, they are also all over Ebay. Idea may not be as unique as you think. JMO. As stated above, contact an Attorney, not your printer, not a forum full of printers, but an Attorney that specializes in IP. Anything we tell you including your printer should not be taken as legal advice. If you want to make sure you are doing things correctly, talk with an IP Attorney, they will usually give a free consult.

Also the Every Day I'm....whatever is from a song, not sure about this and I am sure Tim will chime in with some great advice but didn't you need permission to use that?
 

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If the designs are different, then there really isn't a copyright issue.

The phrase could be eligible for trademark, but it would depend on the intended usage. But if the mark features a person's name or a pro sports team name and also features part of a popular song title, it may be challenging to register.

The reality is, this may just be one of those things that is very difficult to protect. So while there is infringement going on, it's hard to prove exclusive ownership and therefore hard to prevent someone else's usage. Similar to "That's What She Said." It's clearly from The Office, but it's been done on t-shirts a million times.

But with that said, it's really up to the other guy to decide how far he is willing to go. There is a fine line between what he can claim and what he can prove. He would need to prove exclusive ownership to win in court and collect damages. But since you already admitted he was using it first, he can easily tie you up in court just by claiming he has rights to the phrase. So this may not really come down to who's right, it may come down to who's willing to keep the battle going.

And finally, it seems that both parties are probably infringing on the song title and person's name/team name. So that's something to keep in mind.
 
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