CraigPeterson subscriber Posts: 2
edited October 2007 in Protecting Your Ideas
Hello all,I have recently began making stencils with which I print onto t-shirts and other clothing items. I like it alot and started considering the possibility of making it more than a hobby. Here`s my question though: A lot of my stencils are made from images of actors or other famous people(ie Johnny Cash, Borat, Bruce Lee, Spock, etc). Is it illegal for me to sell tshirts that have these images on them? Also, what if I have a small caption under them that is a famous quote of theirs?I guess that`s all I was wondering. I tried searching the web for answers, but came up pretty empty handed, so maybe someone here can help. Thanks a lot,Craig
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pepperlegal10/17/2007 12:06 PM
You`re best to come up with your own designs that are unique that don`t rely on clearance from people. I had a friend who had invented a backscratcher device and named it something similar to ezreach or something. Another company with a similar name, but nowhere near a similar product sued them for infringement. The lawyer, judge, everyone said they would have prevailed, but the cost to defend themselves was over $100K. They lost that much in development costs, and decided not to go thru and defend themselves.
So you have to be very careful. And if you do set up a business, set up an LLC.
I think your best option is to document it somehow. Even if it`s not trademarked yet, as lonig as you can prove in court that you used it first, that helps a lot.People think you HAVE to trademark something or someone can steal it. Not 100% true. You should trademark eventually, but in the meantime, if you dont want to spend the cash to do it, document it!