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Hello Everyone,

I've been trying to do some research in order to start up my own T-shirt company. I want to possibily use Printmojo and sell some of my inventory at flee markets and stuff. I was reading through some posts and saw the comments about trademarks and copyrights. The info on this board has helped me out alot! But I am confused a bit... I went online and searched the phrased "Your Fired!" and "That's Hot" on the US Patent and trademark website. Now the phrases comes up more than one time- I figured maybe it's registered as a trademark for different uses. Maybe someone can help understand this? If a phrase is not listed on that website does it not make it a trademark?

thanx Tina
 

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Now the phrases comes up more than one time- I figured maybe it's registered as a trademark for different uses. Maybe someone can help understand this? If a phrase is not listed on that website does it not make it a trademark?
If a phrase is not listed on the site, there is a good chance that it is not trademarked. However, it is still possible that it could be trademarked.

If you see different results for some phrases, it could mean the phrase is trademarked for different usages, or it could me some results are just trademark applications or inactive trademarks and others are live trademarks.

If you have seen the design or phrase before, it could be possible that it is protected somehow (possibly through a copyright).

If it is an original idea that you thought up and haven't seen anywhere, then it could be possible that it's free to use. The only one that could tell you for sure is an intellectual property rights attorney (which I am not :) )
 

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Hi,

I'm new to the forum and have been having the same questions. Any idea how much it would cost to get a trademark on a phrase? Is there any way I could get a copyright instead? Aren't they less costly?

And after an exhaustive search on-line, would it be tough to process the application myself or would I need an attorney if I've never done it before?

Thanks in advance!
Nick
 

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shirtbiz said:
I'm new to the forum and have been having the same questions. Any idea how much it would cost to get a trademark on a phrase? Is there any way I could get a copyright instead? Aren't they less costly?
Hi Nick, here's a thread with some general information about trademarks and copyrights: http://www.t-shirtforums.com/showthread.php?t=310

Trademarks cost around $300 for the application, copyrights cost around $20, however they each protect different things. In general, you cannot "copyright" a phrase. More information can be found on the trademark registration/copyright registration sites linked to in the thread above.

And after an exhaustive search on-line, would it be tough to process the application myself or would I need an attorney if I've never done it before?
If you are the "do it yourself" type, it is possible to do it on your own without an attorney. The trademark office has lots of information available on their website about how to file an application.

Remember though, the $300+ trademark fee is just for the application, that doesn't guarantee that you'll get your trademark. If your trademark is rejected, then you don't get a refund. Although you can appeal a trademark rejection, I've found that most people just start selling right away and handle the trademark/copyright stuff later (for reasons I mention in the thread linked to above).

Personally, I hired a company that specializes in trademark registrations to handle my trademark registration.
 

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Rodney,

Thank you for all your great feedback and advice! I'm glad I discovered this forum.

Would you recommend the particular trademarking company you used? And would you mind ballparking what they charge? I really think trademarking my slogan would be worth it. I'm confident enough in it to rationalize spending the money to protect it.

Or from experience, have you found that other companies generally don't copy slogans, concepts, etc?

Thanks again for your help,
Nick
 

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Would you recommend the particular trademarking company you used? And would you mind ballparking what they charge? I really think trademarking my slogan would be worth it. I'm confident enough in it to rationalize spending the money to protect it.
The charges vary, but you can find similar services all over the web. Anywhere from $99 to $500 for the professional filing service and extensive searches to make sure the name isn't already taken (which gives you a better chance at a successful application).

Or from experience, have you found that other companies generally don't copy slogans, concepts, etc?
From my experience, I've found that companies don't normally copy slogans. What I have noticed is other smaller t-shirt sellers may see a popular design and try to copy it.

A trademark may or may not protect you from this happening since in general, you can't trademark a slogan (you can generally only trademark a "brand"). Concepts almost have no protection at all.

If you can prove that your slogan is actually a "brand", I think you'll have a better chance at a successful trademark application.

In order to prove that, you sometimes need to establish that you are already using the slogan on merchandise, tags, labeling, etc.

If you actually have a brand that you need to protect, then you should definitely look into the trademark process.

Too often though, people think that just because they have a cool "idea" or "funny saying" that they are sure will be the next No Fear or Big Johnson, that they get caught up on the idea of having to do all this trademark stuff first.

From what I experienced, it actually helped me to have been already established selling products under my brand to help prove that it was "worthy" of a trademark.

Your mileage may vary and I'm not a lawyer :)
 

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Ahhh...it sounds like my efforts to trademark this slogan may be fruitless afterall. I guess I'll just go for it. Thanks for all your advice!!
 

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Hey Rodney,

I know you are not a lawyer, but I thought I'd run this question by you anyways. If someone has a registered LLC, does that cover/trademark their name or for that do you have to go through upsto.gov?

Thanks.
 

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Twin85 said:
If someone has a registered LLC, does that cover/trademark their name or for that do you have to go through upsto.gov?
I'm not sure.

If the case is that you would like to register a trademark and there is a company with an LLC with the same name, it is feasable that it could cause a problem with your trademark registration since you would be trying to register a brand that is already in use by another legally registered company.

Like I said though, I'm not sure, so you'd probably need to do some more research on it or ask one of those lawyer type people :)
 
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