Hi Altect. Welcome to the forums. You've got a lot going on here, so I'll do my best to clear some things up.
Yes, you could still be sued. The "I (heart) NY" design is federally registered as a trademark owned by a department of NY state. To date, they have filed over 3,000 legal objections to a whole bunch of variations of the original. Obviously, there are many knockoffs out there. But most are illegal. I say 'most' because it's possible a judge may find some to be original enough to qualify as a new work or possibly a parody or derivative of the original. But it's impossible for NY state to bring action against all offenders. But they certainly can if they want.Basically my question is that- all around the world, I'm sure people have heard/seen of the t-shirt design "I love(heart shape) NY". But What if someone took the design and changed 1 or 2 letters, and mass produced and sold it for profits. Like example "I love(heart shape) NA" , or "I love(heart shape) GY", With a totally new and different meaning behind it, Would it still be able to get you into trouble if the originator from "I love NY" sued you? (considering that all the fonts design are similar but only one letter changes)
Trademark and copyright are different forms of intellectual property. Depending on the type of work and its intended use determines which registration a work qualifies for. In this case, because "I (heart) NY" has become a slogan of NY with its own branding and merchandising, it qualifies as a trademark.Also i came across some information telling me that it can be protected through trademark and not copyright(more confused)
The bullet point info states these items cannot be copyrighted. But they can be trademarked. So no, changing lettering does not protect anyone from being sued.
So does this mean that the Change in lettering protects the guy from being sued by the originator of "I love NY"?
- Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents