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· Registered
59 Posts

Had a little experience with finding out about this, but only in the UK business area. I would copyright a design before any are sold. If you are a UK business then you actually have copyright status under intellectual property rights as soon as the design is published, i.e. posted onto the internet. And, the added bonus of being in the UK: if you post yourself your designs then this comes under a "royal" stamp (i.e. the postal service is legally bound under Her majesty) meaning that any unopened designs you send to yourself have been time stamp approved by the queen herself, and therefore you can prove time of design.

However, we then enter a more complaicated area where copyright protects the designer, and is in the form of artistic or literature works (think a drawing you have done yourself). A Trademark is a different procedure, and will apply to your company name / logo. This will protect any other indiviual from printing your name / logo onto a tshirt and selling it (think nike and swoosh tick). Then we have the area of a patent where the inventor has patented a new gizmo and wants to keep the rights to it (this costs a lot more).

copyright = design = artwork
trademark = brand = logo
patent = invented = new type fabric for a tshirt?

its a minfield of law out there, and well worth a look at, but back to the original post, if you are in the UK, its easy. Not sure about the US...

hope this helps.


· Registered
6,595 Posts
Very good info, Mark. Much is the same in the US, except the part about mailing yourself the design. Here, that is called Poor Man's Copyright. While it has held up in the UK, it doesn't have much value in court in the US.

Since designs are technically copyright once they are in fixed form, it's not really necessary to officially register them. I guess it depends on what you are looking to accomplish with your registration. But unless you have major distribution, it's unlikely you will need to deal with infringement issues. And it's important to note that copyright protection is only extended to the exact design. If someone were to take your design concept and create something 'similar but different,' that would be legal and you would have very little legal recourse.

Hope this helps.
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