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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone,

I have had a tshirt business for some years now and I want to protect myself so I have been trademarking/copyrighting my designs...but it is very expensive, several hundred per trademark and that doesn't include renewals...I do it online through the national trademark website and you cannot trademark a whole design that will be on a tshirt so I must put it on the label tag or as a pocket tee design then that is trademarkable...so again more work for me in terms of making new shirts...I know people say something is copyrighted when you create it...but I want official protection...but again I need to reconsider if all this is worth it because it has been quite expensive for my business and I already do not make much...
 

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TMs are not for designs/content, they are for branding. Sounds like you are abusing TM, which effectively blocks anyone from using the word/phrase with Merch by Amazon, but else is of no practical value.

Your art is indeed copyrighted when created/published, which is good enough for filing DMCA complaints against thieves. If it comes down to going to court, you want an official copyright on file. Copyrights are much cheaper and less complicated to obtain than TMs. Note, you cannot copyright mere text in a font, nor the words themselves. If you want copyright to apply, build some art into the design, including doing, or modifying, the font yourself.

Regardless, if someone sees your "unicorn roosting in a tree design," they can run out and draw their own version of the idea. You can't own the idea.

All that said, have you ever needed to use your officially registered IP to deal with a thief? I deal with them all the time, and none of my stuff is registered.

So to answer your question, I would say, No, you do not need to do any of that.
 
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