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Hey everyone. I know if i plan to print an sell NFL, NBA, Collegiate, etc. apparel i need to acquire a license to do so...

My question is could i print that stuff for myself, or my friends and family and not charge anything??? or make myself my own vinyl sticker for my car etc...

I know if i don't get caught obviously. but was curious if i were to design my own design, that no one has, using their logos and what not and someone noticed, could i be sued or get into trouble if i'm just doing for myself and not charging anything to family.

Just curious how it works if i'm not using it to make a profit or doing it to resale.
 

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Imagine you have your own brand. Let's call it Quaksilver. Quacksilver took years and thousands of dollars to establish, but it's now doing great. You worked your *** off, 130 hours a week, every week. You have your own logo which everyone recognises and it shows that what you sell is official.

Now imagine suddenly seeing your Quaksilver logo on a shirt you know you did not make.

On a scale of unhappy to seriously pissed off, where do you think you'd be?

It does not matter if the person made it themselves and didn't sell it - effectively it's a lost sale for your brand. You'd probably feel like ripping the shirt off their back. It's unlikely the design is as professional, either, so not only is it a lost sale, but it damages your brand image.

So, you can probably now answer your own question. It's a matter of perspective!

Personally, I wouldn't even go there.
 

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Rich is correct.

I'll add this...
Any unauthorized reproduction of a trademark is infringement. It doesn't matter if it's only for yourself and you don't sell them. It may be a slim chance that you get caught, but it's still illegal.

I wouldn't mess with NFL properties.
 

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I don't see why not. If you're not selling it, who cares? Who will know? I have a buddy that has a van all decorated with custom Chicago Bears logos and graphics. He just walked into a sign shop with art and they did it up. In fact, this sign shop and probably 99.9% of all others will do the same.

Shirts are the same deal. I can't see ANY harm or DANGER (woooooo) in printing some up for you and your family. Don't worry, the NFL isn't about to bang down your door.

Just don't sell any.
 

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I don't see why not.
Yeah, because being illegal isn't a reason not to do it, is it?:rolleyes:

If you're not selling it, who cares? Who will know?
It doesn't matter if you're not selling it.

But, doing something wrong because you don't think you're going to get caught isn't exactly the definition of ethical, now is it?
 

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I don't see why not. If you're not selling it, who cares? Who will know? I have a buddy that has a van all decorated with custom Chicago Bears logos and graphics. He just walked into a sign shop with art and they did it up. In fact, this sign shop and probably 99.9% of all others will do the same.

Shirts are the same deal. I can't see ANY harm or DANGER (woooooo) in printing some up for you and your family. Don't worry, the NFL isn't about to bang down your door.

Just don't sell any.
He asked if he could get sued and the answer is yes he could. Chances are low but could happen. It's also illegal. So's murder - just don't get caught and you should be fine ;)
 

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Yeah, because being illegal isn't a reason not to do it, is it?:rolleyes:

It doesn't matter if you're not selling it.

But, doing something wrong because you don't think you're going to get caught isn't exactly the definition of ethical, now is it?
My wife paints. She often paints portraits of sports figures with their uniforms, logo's etc. Sometimes she photographs the portraits and makes prints on a wide format printer to give to friends.

Maybe I should turn her into the authorities?

Same thing dude.
 

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My wife paints. She often paints portraits of sports figures with their uniforms, logo's etc. Sometimes she photographs the portraits and makes prints on a wide format printer to give to friends.

Maybe I should turn her into the authorities?

Same thing dude.
Not the same thing at all, dude.

An artist's work is protected under freedom of expression. Your wife can paint sports figures all she wants. It's completely legal. So there's no reason to turn her in (although it's a good idea to research more about distributing copies of her original artwork).

But when a trademark is used without permission on salable goods, such as t-shirts, it crosses the legal line. These issues are governed under The Lanham Act, which protects intellectual property.
 

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I'm not sure putting a trademarked image on a single shirt and wearing it breaks any law, we've all done it. The laws seam to be more for about profiting on someone else's stuff. I would be careful distributing it to others tho, free on not.

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I'm not sure putting a trademarked image on a single shirt and wearing it breaks any law
It definitely breaks the law. Whether it's 1 shirt or 100,000 shirts, infringement is infringement. The law does not define infringement based on volume or profit.

we've all done it.
Yeah, and we've all gone 70 mph in a 50 mph zone without getting a ticket too. But that doesn't make it legal. It just means we didn't get caught that day. But maybe we'll get caught tomorrow. Or the next day.

The laws seam to be more for about profiting on someone else's stuff.
This is a common misconception. We only hear about infringement lawsuits every once in a while. That's because most never go to court. They get resolved by IP owners sending C&D letters. We never hear about them, but attorneys send them out every day by the dozen.

It's true that more profit leads to more exposure which leads to a higher risk of getting caught. But it's no less illegal to make one shirt than to make millions.

I would be careful distributing it to others tho, free on not.
Agreed.
 

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Someone with legal connections please post or link to ANY law, in ANY state that has specific language that a single t-shirt printed for personal use is illegal. I'm not saying there isn't one, but every week it seams that someone asks this very question, and always the replies are 50/50 yes and no, and are always opinions. Mine included:D

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Someone with legal connections please post or link to ANY law, in ANY state that has specific language that a single t-shirt printed for personal use is illegal. I'm not saying there isn't one, but every week it seams that someone asks this very question, and always the replies are 50/50 yes and no, and are always opinions. Mine included:D

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How about this:

To copy such that it could cause confusion is a breach, section b. the link to the law is at the top.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1114

It was my first hit on google. I hasten to add that I'm more familiar with British corporate and commerce law, so had to look this one up for my US brothers and sisters.

Otherwise don't you think we'd all be walking around in Nike tops or whatever brand we printed ourselves?

Just think about it logically, how could that be ok? Making counterfeit products and giving them away is just 1 step away from selling them. To be allowed to produce counterfeit garments sounds wrong right from the offset.
 

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Brad, I don't even see why it's necessary. It won't matter to those that don't care about laws anyway.

My sister is an IP attorney, and I'll tell you what she says about this. Take this part of the trademark law:

TITLE VI - REMEDIES
§ 32 (15 U.S.C. § 1114). Remedies; infringement; innocent infringers
(1) Any person who shall, without the consent of the registrant
(a) use in commerce any reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation of a registered
mark in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution, or advertising of any goods or
services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause
mistake, or to deceive; or
(b) reproduce, counterfeit, copy or colorably imitate a registered mark and apply such reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitation to labels, signs, prints, packages,
wrappers, receptacles or advertisements intended to be used in commerce upon or in
connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution, or advertising of goods or services on
or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to
deceive,
shall be liable in a civil action by the registrant for the remedies hereinafter provided.
Under
subsection (b) hereof, the registrant shall not be entitled to recover profits or damages unless the
acts have been committed with knowledge that such imitation is intended to be used to cause
confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive.
Take note of the parts in bold. It's obvious to all that from this section of the trademark law that you can't sell trademarked things you make.

But, she says the part of....

...distribution, or advertising of goods or services on
or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive,
...also applies to someone that makes an article for themselves, others, or just gives it away. You are in affect distributing to yourself.

It's most definitely likely to either cause confusion or deceive, because people are either going to question whether it's authentic (cause confusion) or they are going to believe that it's authentic (deceive).

But again, people that are intent on breaking the law and doing what they want to do, aren't really interested in what the law is. They just want to be able to do what they want to do, then justify it some way.
 

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Someone with legal connections please post or link to ANY law, in ANY state that has specific language that a single t-shirt printed for personal use is illegal. I'm not saying there isn't one, but every week it seams that someone asks this very question, and always the replies are 50/50 yes and no, and are always opinions. Mine included:D

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Registered trademarks are governed under federal law, not state law. The use of trademarks on salable goods are defined within The Lanham Act. So for a clear understanding of the laws, you can search for it and read it.

I don't know that I can find a specific law that says "printing one shirt is illegal." But there is no law that states it's legal to use trademarks for personal use either. There are fair use laws, but no personal use laws.

It's important to understand that "infringement" is repeatedly defined as unauthorized "use," not unauthorized "sale." So it seems logical that personal use wouldn't invalidate the rights of an IP owner. Keep in mind... the IP owner will ALWAYS have the right to take action.

But if you're looking for links from "legal connections," here's a few that may help:
When is Unauthorized Use Not Trademark Infringement? | LegalZoom

Is It Trademark Infringement? - Nolo.com

Trademark Law - Unauthorized Use

Trademark Infringement | Prevent Unauthorized Use with Cease and Desist Letter
 

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Brad, I don't even see why it's necessary. It won't matter to those that don't care about laws anyway.

My sister is an IP attorney, and I'll tell you what she says about this. Take this part of the trademark law:



Take note of the parts in bold. It's obvious to all that from this section of the trademark law that you can't sell trademarked things you make.

But, she says the part of....

...also applies to someone that makes an article for themselves, others, or just gives it away. You are in affect distributing to yourself.

It's most definitely likely to either cause confusion or deceive, because people are either going to question whether it's authentic (cause confusion) or they are going to believe that it's authentic (deceive).

But again, people that are intent on breaking the law and doing what they want to do, aren't really interested in what the law is. They just want to be able to do what they want to do, then justify it some way.
You may interpret it that way but the wording still pertains to selling/distributing copyrighted/trademarked stuff, not wearing it.

Again I'm not in any way condoning any infringment , but making a shirt for yourself will not get you sued.


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Commin' out swinging - we quoted the same passage.

Effectively, the only way to use a logo is to ensure it can't be confused as the original. Which effectively means you can't use it. It does not matter whether you distribute it, sell
it or print it just for yourself.

I assume this is where the Parody use comes in, which is subjective, risky and a whole topic in itself, anyway. But it certainly has it's roots in this section of trademark law and those interested in parody designs should take note and use this section as guidance.
 

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Again I'm not in any way condoning any infringment , but making a shirt for yourself will not get you sued.


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You can't say what won't get someone sued.

Because if someone makes a shirt with my logo for themselves and I find out about it, I will most certainly sue them.

Disney is notorious for it.

And it's not that I'm interpreting it that way, it's the way an actual Intellectual Property Attorney is interpreting it...she just happens to be my sister. :)
 

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You may interpret it that way but the wording still pertains to selling/distributing copyrighted/trademarked stuff, not wearing it.

Again I'm not in any way condoning any infringment , but making a shirt for yourself will not get you sued.


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I think you are totally incorrect.

To copy such that it could cause confusion is a breach, section b.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1114

.
If you copy it so it can be confused, (which by it's very nature is the point of copying a logo), it's a breach. I don't see anything that states you have to sell it for it to be a breach
 
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