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hello everyone
so i am new to the whole industry thing, and i want to start my brand but i want to know all the legal aspects of it. i have a bunch of questions so i m going to just list it.
1.if i have a copyright on my brand does that mean no one can steal my brand name and sue me?
2.once i have my copyright i can start manufacturing clothing right?
3.why do people always say that they have a lawyer when they start with their copyrights?

Thank you guys, and if you have any answers please feel free to answer:)
 

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A copyright is not a license to do business. You'll need to register with your state to collect sales tax, if you're going to sell retail. That's a business license.

A copyright is how you protect your original designs, so no one else can use them. Original artwork is automatically protected by copyright, but if you don't take the extra step to REGISTER the images, you won't collect much from an infringing party.

A trademark is what you'll want to get to protect your name, i.e.: Kleenex, Xerox, Nikon, Hallmark, etc. You'll need a lawyer for that.
 

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I have a question about trademarks too. It may be on here somewhere and apologize for my laziness of not looking any further than here. If I copyright my logo and business name do I have to copyright each t-shirt design that I come up with or are they all covered under the one copyright?
 

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I have a question about trademarks too. It may be on here somewhere and apologize for my laziness of not looking any further than here. If I copyright my logo and business name do I have to copyright each t-shirt design that I come up with or are they all covered under the one copyright?
Trademarks are for logos and brand names. Copyrights are for individual designs.
 

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Technically, your designs are automatically copyrighted once you complete them. So copyright is essentially free. But if you want to submit your designs for official copyright, it costs $35 per submission. You can submit a "book" of designs so there can be multiple designs per submission.
 

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good point! just some of the ins and outs. I have had a business before, mobile automotive detailing. nothing with merchandise though. maybe like an "idiots guide to a t-shirt company" kinda thing.
Plenty of "idiots" here have tried, with varying degrees of success, before you. I am one of them :eek:

Try the Search feature and see if that leads to answers to specific questions/topics. This place is a wealth of information, and there are years of threads to read through.

Here is a brief shot at The Complete Freaking Moron's Guide To Designing and Selling T-Shirts.

  1. Don't do it! Every moron on the planet is currently engaged in a futile effort to sell witty shirts to all the other morons on the planet! PODs have only escalated an already insane flood of novelty shirts.
  2. Yeah, so you are going to ignore #1 above, so let's be smart and do the least damage. Test your designs on a POD marketplace first (Redbubble, Society6, TeeSpring, etc). This costs you nothing but time. You are unlikely to sell much (any?) unless you are infringing the intellectual property of major entertainment companies OR you have an area of expertise/interest and the requisite wit to turn that into designs that fellow enthusiasts will proudly wear.
  3. If that shows promise, there are many, many ways to burn money on equipment, advertising, printing services and inventory, as the plethora of YouTube gurus would be happy to tell you about (while they profit off of your viewership). Seriously, though, if you make it this far, the decision tree gets really wild and wooly, and you need to thoroughly research your options to see which is the least bad for your circumstances and goals.

It is not a get rich quick scheme, or even slow. Those with a background in marketing, and the like, may have a natural advantage (I don't have that). One thing for sure, putting another T-shirt on the internet is like crying into the ocean. Another is that you cannot sell people stuff they are not searching for, at least online. So it is a better bet to make what people want than to create your "art" and try to sell it to them. I, sadly, am in the latter camp. I enjoy it, but I am not fully earning my keep doing this. But then if all I cared about was money, I could be sitting in a cube again earning $100k+. If you need money, make sure you keep the day job :eek:
 

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Technically, your designs are automatically copyrighted once you complete them. So copyright is essentially free. But if you want to submit your designs for official copyright, it costs $35 per submission. You can submit a "book" of designs so there can be multiple designs per submission.
Have you submitted multiple designs at once? I've seen this mentioned before, but I'm not sure if it is really useful when it comes to enforcing your copyright, as there appear to be requirements that make it impractical or inapplicable.

[media]https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ34.pdf[/media]

I've never registered a copyright, but the idea is growing on me, as it can make the process of dealing with infringing POD people easier. But I can't see paying the fee for each and every design ...
 

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I am definitely not jumping on the witty T-shirt bandwagon. you are right, there are a metric **** ton of those everywhere. I have a specific style of shirts that would target a somewhat specific group of people that would hopefully move into a broader group and maybe even future designs could target a different specific group.
I understand copyrighting the "logo" and "brand" of the company, but would each individual shirt design need to be copyrighted or would anything with the brand name on it be covered under the brand copyright?
thanks for all the information, you guys are awesome.
 

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Logos and brand names are protected under trademark. Designs are protected under copyright. So there is no way to protect everything together because it requires two different branches of intellectual property to register a logo/brand name and a design.


That said, unless your design is really that innovative, it's probably more beneficial to protect your logo and brand name and not really worry so much about the individual designs. If each design features your logo or brand name, then those would be protected under the trademark even if the design itself is not officially registered under copyright (you do NOT need official copyright to own the rights to your design).
 

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As Tim said, copyright is mostly for artists to protect their images. If you're just putting together design elements that you didn't create, maybe combined with text, I wouldn't worry about copyright.
 

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hello everyone
so i am new to the whole industry thing, and i want to start my brand but i want to know all the legal aspects of it. i have a bunch of questions so i m going to just list it.
1.if i have a copyright on my brand does that mean no one can steal my brand name and sue me?
2.once i have my copyright i can start manufacturing clothing right?
3.why do people always say that they have a lawyer when they start with their copyrights?

Thank you guys, and if you have any answers please feel free to answer:)

1. It seems like you are mixing up Copyrights with Trademarks. What you are really asking for is a trademark for your brand name (others here have already explained the difference). Once you've done your research on Trademarks, you must decide whether or not you are capable of applying for it yourself. If you will do it yourself (we did it ourselves), and you are selling similar apparel like us, you can use our trademark as a foundation for writing yours:


https://trademarks.justia.com/874/39/islk-87439602.html




2. Before requesting a trademark, you either need to already be selling clothing with your brand name either

  • on the neck label
  • on the hang tag
  • on the shipping label
or, you need to submit an 'intent to use' to the USPTO. If you go to YouTube and search USPTO trademark, the USPTO has good videos on submitting for trademarks. For now, before you receive the 'registered' trademark (the R) ,you can use the 'TM' behind your brand name. Remember, the USPTO could care less about you having your brand name on the t-shirt. Your brand name has to be in one of the above three locations (there might be other locations)


3. Like I said, you might be thinking of Trademarks. Filing for copyright protection is relatively easy. I've never heard of anyone needing a lawyer to file for copyrights (that's just me). I've heard of many people and businesses using trademark lawyers for filing trademarks because it can get complicated. After your research, you need to decide if you need to hire a lawyer to submit for your trademark or if you can do it yourself.


Tomas
 

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1. It seems like you are mixing up Copyrights with Trademarks. What you are really asking for is a trademark for your brand name (others here have already explained the difference). Once you've done your research on Trademarks, you must decide whether or not you are capable of applying for it yourself. If you will do it yourself (we did it ourselves), and you are selling similar apparel like us, you can use our trademark as a foundation for writing yours:


https://trademarks.justia.com/874/39/islk-87439602.html




2. Before requesting a trademark, you either need to already be selling clothing with your brand name either

  • on the neck label
  • on the hang tag
  • on the shipping label
or, you need to submit an 'intent to use' to the USPTO. If you go to YouTube and search USPTO trademark, the USPTO has good videos on submitting for trademarks. For now, before you receive the 'registered' trademark (the R) ,you can use the 'TM' behind your brand name. Remember, the USPTO could care less about you having your brand name on the t-shirt. Your brand name has to be in one of the above three locations (there might be other locations)


3. Like I said, you might be thinking of Trademarks. Filing for copyright protection is relatively easy. I've never heard of anyone needing a lawyer to file for copyrights (that's just me). I've heard of many people and businesses using trademark lawyers for filing trademarks because it can get complicated. After your research, you need to decide if you need to hire a lawyer to submit for your trademark or if you can do it yourself.


Tomas
Good stuff here. Thanks for sharing.
 

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After posting this and some time. I have come up with a logo I think is original, but the question I have now is the name I want to call my self.

In the world of trademark can you use 1 word of a person's business and incorporate into yours?

example is not true businesses in question: Company A: Bob's Ink The name I would like Bob's Screen Printing.

Bob's Ink screen prints plus other services. Bob's Screen Printing will only be screen printing at this time.
 
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