'Tis the day to design a chainsaw t-shirt. I sat down at my desk this fine day, feelin' kind of creative, with graphics and a saying I wanted to use. What I was not prepared for on my first Chainsaw Tshirt design day, was a legal question that popped into my little mind regarding legal protection for designs and slogans, etc.
Should I copyright or trademark my chainsaw t-shirt design?
So, I did a little Internet poking around and the common consensus is that paying and filing a tshirt copyright or trademark is not necessary. What protects the use of graphics and wording on shirts? Commerce. Apparently one's designs and slogans etc. on shirts and clothing are legally protected just by the fact that they were the first to use their original art work in this fashion and offer it for sale in certain geographical areas.
Copyright My T-shirt Design
"Copyright protection automatically attaches to an original work of authorship from the moment of creation and fixation. Under the current law, no action need to taken to secure copyright protection – neither publication, registration or the use of notice. There are, however, advantages to registering a work with the U.S. Copyright Office, and a work of U.S. origin must be registered before an infringement suit can be filed. Registration may be made at anytime within the life of the copyright. Registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright."
Trademark My Tshirt Design
"Rights to the exclusive use of a distinctive logo or other identifying mark belong to the person who first uses it in commerce. Registration of the mark with a government agency provides notice to the public of an existing claim but does not confer actual ownership of the mark. The extent of the right to exclusive use of a mark is determined by the sales reach of the goods the mark identifies. So if t-shirts with a distinctive logo are sold within a state, the exclusive right to use that logo only applies within the state. To expand rights to the mark, increase the geographical distribution of the goods it identifies."
My Chainsaw Tshirt Copyright & Trademark
My chainsaw t-shirt is for sale around the world. The fact that I've documented its design here will certify that this chainsaw tshirt and its slogan, "I Came, I Sawed, I Conquered" is legally protected against trademark & copyright infringement. The design was in fact completed January 1, 2016 but its first public appearance was today. Say hello everyone! This cartoon super hero axe-man is one of the new mascots for OPEwear.com as of right now. He's named Lumber Jack. We'll be producing a comic strip with him some day.
If anyone was going to steal my design or my slogan, they'd have to illegally steal it from here. The fact that it's here and it's for sale (commerce) means it is already protected. If by some chance, someone thought of the slogan and used it, or stole it or the graphics from us later and OPEwear.com found out, then we'd get to take all of the revenue generated by their sales, and they'd have to stop using the slogan or design immediately... and we'd send a real version of Lumber Jack over to their house, to um, well you know. Moral of that story: Get your own chainsaw t-shirt design and text. 😉