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Hey,

I started my brand in January.While i have not generated much sales, the feedback is positive. My designs are not actual pictures of the devices, more of a look alike so I can avoid copyright infringement.

Is this something I will have to investigate further or am I alright?
 

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You can call RiM, ask for someone from marketing or press relations and talk to them about it.
I do cars and since I wasn't sure what can/can't be used, I just phoned some manufacturers (the country branch office) and talked to them about it. In my case, the only thing they do not want reproduced is their logo and company name. I also think they would not like to see their car model insulted, though I didn't ask cuz its not my goal. I promised I would email them some pictures of what the shirts would look like. Communication is key.

Even though design (car, phone, whatever) is part of the intellectual property, you aren't reproducing it in real life, as in making an exact copy and selling as a WhiteBerry for example. And you're actually creating an advertisement that is totally free for them, so it would be illogical for them to fully forbid doing this.

Also, have a look at Fotolia.com. I research the pictures sometimes because their legal rules are very strict. If it was indeed totally illegal to take a picture or make a vector of a BlackBerry, it would not be sold on Fotolia. But you can see that all logos are removed, which applies for cars also, all badges are removed. If it is totally legit to take a picture of a BB, remove the logo and sell it as JPEG pics, I see no reason yu couldn't resell the picture on shirts.
http://eu.fotolia.com/search?k=blackberry+phone&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aphoto%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aillustration%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Avector%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Avideo%5D=1
 

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Even though design (car, phone, whatever) is part of the intellectual property, you aren't reproducing it in real life, as in making an exact copy and selling as a WhiteBerry for example.
Reproducing in real life would be infringement of patent. Reproducing as artwork on a t-shirt is infringement of trademark and/or copyright. One has nothing to do with the other. Just because you aren't violating patent laws doesn't make it ok to violate other IP laws.

And you're actually creating an advertisement that is totally free for them, so it would be illogical for them to fully forbid doing this.
This is a slippery slope that no IP attorney would ever fall for. It is the responsibility of IP owners to protect their property by legal means. Failure to do so would be grounds to lose legal protection. No IP owner would allow a precedence to be set that they allowed infringement to knowingly continue just to get free advertising.

Also, have a look at Fotolia.com. I research the pictures sometimes because their legal rules are very strict. If it was indeed totally illegal to take a picture or make a vector of a BlackBerry, it would not be sold on Fotolia. But you can see that all logos are removed, which applies for cars also, all badges are removed. If it is totally legit to take a picture of a BB, remove the logo and sell it as JPEG pics, I see no reason yu couldn't resell the picture on shirts.
Creation and sale of digital media is completely different than the creation and sale of t-shirts. You cannot make a connection to the legalities of each because they are governed by separate laws (or separate interpretations of the laws). Fotolia's terms and conditions even states that they generally do not have a release from companies to use commercial products in their works. So it is not a good analogy to determine the legal usage of the artwork just because it is on Fotolia. If the OP wants to know for sure, they should consult an attorney.
 

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off the topic but i just wanted to say that i like your website nice layout. easy to navigate through .
Hey,

I started my brand in January.While i have not generated much sales, the feedback is positive. My designs are not actual pictures of the devices, more of a look alike so I can avoid copyright infringement.

Is this something I will have to investigate further or am I alright?
 

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It seems like pretty obvious copyright infringement to me, but if you seriously want to pursue this then you should talk to a lawyer that specializes in copyrights.
 

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It seems like pretty obvious copyright infringement to me, but if you seriously want to pursue this then you should talk to a lawyer that specializes in copyrights.

Hmmmmm I might have to look into this. I do have alternatives. However, I will wait for that. Aside from that, what do you guys think of the site layout?
 
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