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copyright/trademark/licensed infringment?

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Old January 1st, 2012, 12:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
keljohnso keljohnso is offline
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Default copyright/trademark/licensed infringment?

I'm just getting started in embroidery. But I was wondering, why can I pay to get a tatoo of say Mickey Mouse, but I can't legally stich it on someones garment?
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Old January 1st, 2012, 12:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
ericstshirts ericstshirts is offline
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Default Re: copyright/trademark/licensed infringment?

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Originally Posted by keljohnso View Post
I'm just getting started in embroidery. But I was wondering, why can I pay to get a tatoo of say Mickey Mouse, but I can't legally stich it on someones garment?
I'm pretty sure you can't. That is, I'm not sure about tattoos. Maybe because the tattoo place is selling ink and ... as an embroider you are selling a finished product with Mickey on it.

The issue here is Trademark NOT copyright. Many people get these confused. Copyright is literally about COPYING. Trademark is the reproduction of a work that is or is substantially like a trademark. Disney will argue that YOUR embroidered item will confuse the public as to who made it.

Once as item is trademarked, Disney must be the ONLY producer or they could loose their trademark. Put another way, if you produce an item with Disney's trademark, they MUST sue you or loose trademark protection.

The tattoo world may be different because the item is going on a person's body and there is no confusion that the person was made by God (or mother nature). In the case of your item, there would be confusion as to who made the shirt/jacket/item. And that is the heart of trademark law - confusion.

Ya can't use Disney's logo ... WITHOUT getting their permission. Which they would do as long as you pay them the licensing fee.

I have two intellectual property (trademark) attorneys and we have companies try to sue us. They failed.
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Old January 1st, 2012, 12:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
keljohnso keljohnso is offline
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Default Re: copyright/trademark/licensed infringment?

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Originally Posted by ericstshirts View Post
I'm pretty sure you can't. That is, I'm not sure about tattoos. Maybe because the tattoo place is selling ink and ... as an embroider you are selling a finished product with Mickey on it.

The issue here is Trademark NOT copyright. Many people get these confused. Copyright is literally about COPYING. Trademark is the reproduction of a work that is or is substantially like a trademark. Disney will argue that YOUR embroidered item will confuse the public as to who made it.

Once as item is trademarked, Disney must be the ONLY producer or they could loose their trademark. Put another way, if you produce an item with Disney's trademark, they MUST sue you or loose trademark protection.

The tattoo world may be different because the item is going on a person's body and there is no confusion that the person was made by God (or mother nature). In the case of your item, there would be confusion as to who made the shirt/jacket/item. And that is the heart of trademark law - confusion.

Ya can't use Disney's logo ... WITHOUT getting their permission. Which they would do as long as you pay them the licensing fee.

I have two intellectual property (trademark) attorneys and we have companies try to sue us. They failed.
Thanks for the info. I agree the tattoo place is selling ink, but if someone comes and wants Mickey on their own shirt, I'm selling thread.

I understand that they can sell their shirt to someone later and make a profit, whereas it may be difficult to sell an arm with Mickey on it for a profit.
And by puting Mickey on a shirt I could set up production and make 100's, but if I ONLY put Mickey on THEIR shirt it's one-at-a-time deal. Again, selling thread not the garmant.

I was just wondering.
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Old January 1st, 2012, 08:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
ericstshirts ericstshirts is offline
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Default Re: copyright/trademark/licensed infringment?

No ... it doesn't work like that.

"but if I ONLY put Mickey on THEIR shirt it's one-at-a-time deal. Again, selling thread not the garmant."

If YOU put Micky on THEIR shirt YOU would still be in VIOLATION of Disney's trademark. In the case of Trademark, YOU can't put it on ANY garment without permission from Disney.

The way trademark law works is very absolute. ONLY Disney can authorize the placement of Micky on a product. It does not matter who owns the garment prior to your application of it.

Since a person is NOT merchandise, Trademark does not apply.

With shirts, it does. A shirt is a garment, it is merchandise and falls under trademark protection.

At the risk of starting a new thread, there are four exceptions to trademark. Protest, Parody, Satire. These allow a protester, or a comic to print without permission. Also, fair-use is protected - a newspaper can print on a shirt. But, a garment decorator who is selling trademarked works without falling under one of these protections would loose a case under trademark law.

It is not who own the merchandise, it is use. Trademark protects how the MARK is TRADED.
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Old January 1st, 2012, 08:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
keljohnso keljohnso is offline
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Default Re: copyright/trademark/licensed infringment?

Okay makes sense, thanks!
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 08:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
Alan_Hepburn Alan_Hepburn is offline
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Default Re: copyright/trademark/licensed infringment?

An example: Brother has an agreement with Disney that allows them to include Disney designs with some of their machines. When you buy such a machine, it comes with a statement that says you are allowed to use the designs for personal use only. I can make shirts and stuff for my family and friends, but I cannot charge anything for them.
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