Copyrighted Characters On Cakes & Do You Rent Or Sell To

Business By bluedaisies Updated 26 Dec 2011 , 4:10pm by costumeczar

bluedaisies Posted 24 Dec 2011 , 11:08pm
post #1 of 7

So I recently learned that you're not supposed to recreate characters (Mickey, etc) and sell them. So to avoid doing this, when you purchase the character cake toppers - do you rent them to the client or sell them with the cake?

Also, if you bought for instance the Mickey face shaped cake pan and recreated the Mickey face - is that legal to sell since you purchased the pan?

Thanks!

6 replies
BizCoCos Posted 25 Dec 2011 , 12:24am
post #2 of 7

My understanding is that the cake pans are for home use. Could be wrong.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Dec 2011 , 12:34am
post #3 of 7

When we buy licensed character cake toppers we just sell them to customers as part of the order (with the standard markup of course).

If you buy a Mickey Mouse pan you can legally sell the pan itself to someone else, but selling a copy (i.e. a Mickey-shaped cake made with the pan) would be a copyright violation.

Texas_Rose Posted 25 Dec 2011 , 1:04am
post #4 of 7

The pans are for home use only. It's usually stamped right on the pan.

escaliba1234 Posted 25 Dec 2011 , 3:06am
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedaisies

So I recently learned that you're not supposed to recreate characters (Mickey, etc) and sell them. So to avoid doing this, when you purchase the character cake toppers - do you rent them to the client or sell them with the cake?

Also, if you bought for instance the Mickey face shaped cake pan and recreated the Mickey face - is that legal to sell since you purchased the pan?

Thanks!




Yes, I would like to know the legal view on this one, too.

Seems to me that they can't have things both ways; make money from selling the character pans and not want people to use the products as they were intended. But that is just my personal view.

It does bring to mind a friend, who is professional cake decorator. She was making the most beautiful Minnie Mouse cake for our big Sydney Royal Easter Show competition. I commented on how wonderful it was, assuming she had used one of the character cake tins. She told me it was not allowed in such competitions; they had to design their own pattern/shape, and provide proof of own design.
My friend's cake won her section at the show; her mother, another professional cake decorator, also won her class and they took out the two major awards.

I also wonder if the legal view is a grey area which depends on where one lives.

I note a big difference in legality, depending on country or state.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Dec 2011 , 10:39pm
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by escaliba1234

Seems to me that they can't have things both ways; make money from selling the character pans and not want people to use the products as they were intended. But that is just my personal view.



The only reason Wilton can even legally sell Mickey Mouse pans in the first place is because they've made a license agreement with Disney, and part of that agreement was to restrict the license to home use only. If you want to use the likeness of Mickey Mouse for commercial purposes, you are free to contact Disney yourself and pay for commercial licensing rights.

Quote:
Quote:

It does bring to mind a friend, who is professional cake decorator. She was making the most beautiful Minnie Mouse cake for our big Sydney Royal Easter Show competition.
...
I also wonder if the legal view is a grey area which depends on where one lives.

I note a big difference in legality, depending on country or state.



There is no difference in legality with regards to copyright protection among countries that are members of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) -- which is just about every country in the world. Your friend took a big risk by copying an original character owned by someone else and using it in a competition that presumably received a significant amount of press coverage.

The biggest difference is probably enforcement by the copyright owners themselves. Some copyright owners don't have the resources or inclination to enforce violations, while others (like Disney) have teams dedicated to protecting their intellectual property and going after infringement.

costumeczar Posted 26 Dec 2011 , 4:10pm
post #7 of 7

Yeah, I've dealt with some companies that don't mind if you do one cake "for a fan", then others say no way no how. I've even heard of one company who told one person okay, then another person was told to stop selling something that had their trademarked characters on them (That would be the angry birds people who gave two different responses.) Anyway, it doesn't hurt to ask the company itself if you're not sure. I have written permission from several NFL teams to use their logos. I just do it on a case-by-case basis as someone asks for that type of cake.

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