Can i patent a shirt design [You Asked]

Last updated : Sept 1, 2022
Written by : Clarice Marshalsea
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Can i patent a shirt design

How much does it cost to patent at shirt design?

A utility patent protects the construction or function of the t-shirt and not its appearance. It typically takes just over 24 months to get a patent and, even for a simple invention like a t-shirt, it can cost $7,500 or more.

Can you get a patent on a clothing design?

The short answer is yes, you can patent clothing using a design patent or utility patent. That said, you should know the difference between what type of clothing design patents protect and design patents protect.

Do I need to copyright my t-shirt designs?

Being a t-shirt designer, you must get copyright so that no other person or organization can illegally use your designs for any commercial activity. It is tempting to use an attractive image, shirt quotes, or graphics as part of your design. But any illegal use can land you in legal trouble later.

Can you patent sayings on t shirts?

No. Patents do not protect phrases and written expressions. Phrases used in connection with a tee shirt may be eligible for either trademark or copyright protection provided the requirements for registration of each are met.

How long does a design patent last?

For design patents, the period is 14 years from date of issuance. (Design patents are issued for ornamental designs of functional items). For plant patents, the period is 17 years from date of issuance.

How do I protect my clothing brand name?

You can protect your Clothing Brand by filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Trademark registration comes with exclusive legal protections for your brand, including your brand name, logo, and catchphrase.

How do I patent a shirt brand?

  1. Marks.
  2. Signs.
  3. Symbols.
  4. Words.

How do I protect my design from being copied?

  1. Protect Your Brand With a Trademark.
  2. Protect Your Brand With a Registered Mark.
  3. Protect Your Brand With a Patent.

How much does it cost to patent a clothing line?

The basic cost to register a trademark with the USPTO is $350 per class of goods. Depending on your brand offerings, you may need to register in multiple classes. If your brand includes both clothing and purses, for instance, you'll pay the basic application fee for both classes of goods.

What can I legally put on a shirt?

This is a very sweeping question and the answer will depend on the specific circumstances. But for a safe answer: you can print anything on a t-shirt that is under public domain without infringing copyright laws.

How do I trademark a Tshirt design?

Register your mark nationally. Go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. Use the online registration system to submit your application. The system will request the name and address of the owner of the mark, a clear drawing of the mark, a description of the goods the mark identifies and the filing basis.

Can I put a Nike logo on a shirt for personal use?

In fact, copyright and trademark violations can in some cases lead to criminal charges. Selling shirts with copyrighted images isn't impossible, but you should never use someone else's logos on your T-shirts or other clothing without their explicit permission.

How do you avoid copyright infringement with T-shirts?

  1. Check material for its copyright before using it.
  2. Find non-copyrighted materials.
  3. Pay for designs.
  4. Change existing designs to make them your own.
  5. Create your designs from scratch.

How much does it cost to trademark a phrase for t-shirt?

If you have ever asked yourself how much does it cost to trademark a phrase, according to the current fee schedule on the USPTO, trademark registration fees cost $275 per mark per class. If you need an attorney's assistance, the cost averages around $1,000 to $2,000.

Can you copyright words on a shirt?

Words and logos on T-shirts can be protected with the USPTO, but the overall design of the T-shirt is actually protected by copyright law. As soon as the T-shirt is fixed in a tangible medium, any creative and original aspects of the shirt are protected by copyright law.

Is it worth getting a design patent?

Design patents are worth it if you have a design that makes your product or article sell. Said differently, if your design encourages your customers to purchase your product, then obtaining a design patent for your product may be worth investing your time and money.

How do you do a poor man's patent?

The theory behind the “poor man's patent” is that, by describing your invention in writing and mailing that documentation to yourself in a sealed envelope via certified mail (or other proof-of-delivery mail), the sealed envelope and its contents could be used against others to establish the date that the invention was ...

How can I patent a design for free?

There are two ways you can actually patent an invention for free, sort of. If you cannot afford an agent or attorney, look to the Patent Pro Bono Program or the Law School Clinic Certification Program, both provided by the USPTO. The Patent Pro Bono Program pairs registered patent agents or attorneys with inventors.

Can I sell clothes without a trademark?

Your clothing line must be unique with an original name, slogan, and logo in order to qualify for trademark protection. Generic or descriptive names won't cut it. Once you've chosen a name for your clothing line, that trademark becomes the element distinguishing your line from your competitors'.

Do I need a trademark to start a clothing brand?

Using a brand name, your logo, or a slogan in any type of commercial trade is usually enough for you to establish your ownership of the trademark without needing to register it. However, commercial use does not provide much actual legal protection.

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Can i patent a shirt design

Comment by Isaac Vecchione

hey but what's up it's Rob this is a pair of success and in this episode here I want to talk to you guys about copyright infringement okay can I use a famous person inside of my designs can I take a character from a movie or a movie quote and incorporate it into my designs and can I go online and find a graphic and use it inside of my designs I want to talk to you guys about what needs to happen before that can take place it should be a really good episode and stay tuned so basically what we're covering here is called intellectual property rights okay and in order for you to use a famous person or a character from a movie or a movie quote or even the design that you find online inside of your t-shirts you have to have written permission from the owner of the intellectual property or a license okay and basically a license has two main components it has a term which is the length of time that you are allowed to use their designs inside of your work and sell it and a territory which is basically where you are allowed to use the designs and sell them you're probably wondering how so many stores and websites use all these characters from movies and famous people and other designs inside of their t-shirts and the answer is that they're probably doing it illegally okay if you do decide to use designs that aren't your intellectual property inside of your own designs you are not definitely going to be sued but you are at risk of being sued okay this is where we enter into the gray area of all this so if you do end up getting sued by these ding-dongs god forbid they still need to prove that the designs that you used are actually intellectual property theft and that you were in the wrong to use them okay and there's several criteria that they follow in order to come to this conclusion the first question that they'll ask to come to a conclusion on this is does the famous person the movie character the movie quote or the design that you found online have an identifying characteristic so an example of this is if I wanted to use the movie character scar from the movie Lion King inside one of my shirt designs and when you look at my shirt designs I clearly use the exact same guard that scar has over his left eye inside of my shirt designs this would obviously be a pretty clear giveaway that what I did was intellectual property theft and I'm using that exact same character from the movie another question that might come up is what if I wanted to use a character from a movie but do it in the style of a parody right like what if I wanted to turn scar into like Tupac right the answer is that you could still be sued alright the intellectual property owner could use what's called the fair use defense which has several criteria but the most important one is the potential effect on the marketplace okay they give the most amount of a weight to that so if my you know parody of scar and a Tupac design messes with the whole image of Lion King then that might you know lead to some negative consequences the last thing I want to cover here is if you're using a design that's similar to another clothing brand that might have been trademarked and it's not quite identical but it's similar okay there's a criteria for this as well and the first question that they'll ask is does the design cause confusion in the marketplace as to who's the owner of the design there are a lot of different criteria that they'll consider in order to decide whether or not there's actually confusion in the marketplace okay the first thing they'll consider is what is the strength of the trademark right does the other person have a trademark on all the designs maybe one design or just the word itself a word mark the second thing that they'll consider is what is the proximity of the goods to one another so if I'm selling in Canada and another person opens up right beside me with the same name and everything obviously there's going to be more confusion than if somebody opens up in China and starts selling to a completely different market the third is similarity of the trademarks right how similar are the brands actually to one another right the fourth is evidence of confusion right have people been maybe messaging you saying oh I thought you were you know this brand or you guys are really similar to this brand right because that would be evidence that there's actually confusion going on in the marketplace the fifth piece of criteria is what are the market channels being used right are you guys using the exact same marketing channels vi is intent what was the intent when it all started up were you trying to you know take advantage of an ongoing trend or did it happen spontaneously and it's completely out of your own original idea last one is the likelihood of expansion right does it look like these are big trends that are moving forward and all this is going to expand or is this all something that might be just short-lived I think this is a really good video to end on a general statement just to give you guys a sense of how I feel about this whole thing and how I think that you should move forward given this information and basically the reality of it is even if you were using completely legal designs you can still get sued okay so any time you're designing you should obviously always try to use your own original work and create everything originally and if you do end up using other character famous person inspired designs I think that you should just be really really careful and take everything that I said into consideration first I really appreciate you guys watching this video and if you guys have any sort of video topics that you want answered definitely write them in the comments section okay because I'm going to be answering them all and I really want to sort of create a community for clothing brand owners to come together here and really help each other grow all right so I really hope you liked this video and stay tuned for the next one peace

Thanks for your comment Isaac Vecchione, have a nice day.
- Clarice Marshalsea, Staff Member

Comment by Frankie

what's happening guys so Nate back here and today's video we're gonna talk a little bit about trademark and copyright how to handle it if you get one and also how to avoid it before you actually get in trouble so how to know if something is risky and what kind of stuff you should avoid when you're making print-on-demand items so one of the most important things of your business when you're doing a print-on-demand business when you're selling custom designs on custom merch on your Shopify store is the designs you have to take the design process pretty serious if you do not want to get in trouble in the long run because there is going to be a time where you are going to sell something and you're going to think that's ok and the next thing you know you're gonna get a letter so someone's telling you cease and desist stop selling that I own the copyright on that graphic or that image or that vector or whatever you have in your design right that you paid a designer to make and you find out that he used something from somewhere that he wasn't supposed to and yeah this kind of stuff happens it's definitely happened to me before it so one of the things I wanted to tell you is obviously the the basic the most easy stuff you should avoid is anything clear branded stay away from sports teams stay with from cartoons TV movies famous people right stay away from all that and you're like what a second that's gonna make it way harder no it doesn't make it harder it's just you're gonna set yourself up to beat I have a longer-term business when you do it the correct way because one of the things you don't want to do is you don't want to base your print-on-demand business on trademark stuff on the TV and the movies and and that comes if you base your your business on that in the beginning it's gonna be exponentially harder to come out of doing that trademark stuff once if you ever decided to do it like yeah okay now my business is growing let's start focusing on non trademark stuff if you did it and then be like exponet you don't want to do that so how do you know what's trademark well obviously any the break the basic stuffs the easiest stuff right so do not do like what I just said movie TV all that kind of well if you know what I did with my print on the man store I have success with animals a lot of animals and then that doesn't mean you have to do animals right that's not the only niche there's so many many niches so many hobbies so many trends so many holidays so many things that are not TV and movie and whatever right but what I'm basically saying is you can start your business your foundation of your business in the correct areas and do correct designs and still have total success and you don't need to have you don't have to play in the in the trademark area if you play in the trademark area you're playing a fire and you're gonna get in trouble eventually someone's gonna come for you someone's gonna send you a letter someone's gonna sue you and you don't you just don't want to deal with that is not a good idea especially if you want to build a real business a real brand yeah don't do that still even if you want you have a short-term business still don't do it it's still too risky so what I want to show you now is one of the one of the things you can do just a double check so if you're not sure if something is trademark you think you're okay you hire a design if you buy a design from a designer and it looks super good and you're like I don't think that guy has that kind of skill he doesn't he done designs for me before but this design is like way too good what you want to do is you want to do what I like to call a reverse image lookup and this is gonna help you find if that design or that graphic or that vector is found somewhere else online and so what it'll do is hop on my computer I'll show you how to do that real quick so let me start my screen recording first thing you want to do here I'll just go to Google you want to go to Google okay I go to Google and then just go to images okay just type in images and they'll go to the image tab okay and now when you're in the image tab whatever you're searching for it right well I'll show you so I have for example let's say my designer gave me an image so I'm gonna click on this little box here see this little box image right here search by image so now I'm not searching my text and searching my image I click on search for an image and you could paste a URL but if you already have a design from your designer paste that design or upload the design from your designer into and if he makes it he fee formatted it for your wallet case over for another product and make sure he gives you the PSD and then you can upload just the main vector part or whatever parts in question don't try to upload the entire design it might give you something else right you want to you want to upload only the part that's in question the thing you're not sure if it's copyright or not and so for example I'm gonna upload this this I'll show you I have this what is this dolphin design I'm not even sure which one I downloaded actually okay so let's go over here it looks like this this is the one I downloaded right so this is just for an example purposes only and so I have this dolphin right here and it looks really nice it's a nice little vector graphic and I want to know does that trademark sure is that copywriting well basically if you can find it online then it's probably not safe to use okay unless you buy it from a stock photo site and you have rights to that so that's a different scenario but if you're just finding on Google it's normally not a safe option do not use images from Google Images it's going to be bad so or it could potentially bad even if they classify as commercially available and Google it's just they don't do the classifications right so well here let me show you this so this is the design that I had saved let's pretend my designer gave me you can see down here I have the exact same one two times here with with actually three times this one's flipped this is flipped but without color so if I go to visually similar images you can see here it is right here here it is right here not a flipped here it is over here so this is definitely somewhere you know someone owns this it looks like a coloring book thing or whatever images may be subject to copyright definitely so this is basically what I'm trying to say is you got to be very very careful with images you get from your designer and that kind of stuff just to be you know make sure that your it's not not stolen maze-like he didn't still have her somewhere he to borrow it from somewhere he's not supposed to do so what I want to show you now is this website called free pick free was it called free pick free pick right free picked free vectors and in arts now this website now if I search dolphin in here I want to show you this because this is important to note free pick has like all this cool stuff that you can use and here's what this is what I want to do it to to tell you okay so for example whatever let's just choose one I don't know it doesn't matter something that'

Thanks Frankie your participation is very much appreciated
- Clarice Marshalsea

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