Trademark/licensed Designs--Where Do You Draw The Line?

Business By authress Updated 27 Mar 2008 , 1:27pm by FlowerGirlMN

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authress Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 5:02pm
post #1 of 6

I know there have been many threads about this issue, but most seem to focus on the do you/don't you split. I typically side with the don'ts--no Mickey Mouse or Dora the Explorer for me! I'm curious, however, as to where you--those who "don't"--draw the line.

Examples of (potentially?) blurry lines--album covers, video game systems/characters, brand-name food items. Do you apply your policy broadly or narrowly? Are you less flexible with those likely to come after you (Disney) than those less likely (Atari)?

I don't want to try to "get away" with anything, but I don't want to put huge limitations on what I'm willing to do. Thanks for your input!

5 replies
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GeminiRJ Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 5:32pm
post #2 of 6

What a can of worms this could open! You will have to do what makes you comfortable. I've done cakes that looked like a giant bag of M&M's and I never even thought it would be a copyright issue, but I can see where it could be one. Very interesting.

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CelebrationsbyLori Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 7:05pm
post #3 of 6

It's kind of a "slippery slope" issue. The customer is not going to understand if the line veers all over the place. Any logos, characters, even lettering (i.e. Disney, Coca-Cola) can be trademarked. I just say no on anything, that way I don't get the "But you did this for me last time..." There are a lot of other options that can coordinate with party themes without taking any chances.

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mellormom Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 7:07pm
post #4 of 6

You ask a very good question! I'm not sure where I would draw the line. I think I would not do any copyright because it would be just my luck that I would be the one to get caught.

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authress Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 1:12pm
post #5 of 6

Thanks to all for the feedback! I with you in that I tend to err on the side of caution. I think some of the things are obvious and people who choose to do them are really opening themselves up to problems. HOWEVER, what about handbags? Wedding or birthday invitation designs? Pacman? It seems like you could just keep going and going until you're quited limited in what you do.

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FlowerGirlMN Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 1:27pm
post #6 of 6

Funny story.

I went into the Coach store to ask about the handbag I'd done as a cake. I wasn't getting anywhere just by describing, and it wasn't on their site anymore.

So I asked... if I show you a picture of a cake that looks like a purse, can you tell me about the purse?

Got a weird look.Whipped out one of my business postcards, knowing it had the photo on her.

She SHRIEKED. Loudly and repeatedly. She asked if she could have the card for aminute, then went around the store giddily showing the other employees and a few shoppers. "OMG!! This is a CAKE!!! can you believe it???!!?" kinda thing.

Then she asked if she could order one for her manager's bday.

So, while I'm aware that it's not exactly Coach "corporate" talking.. I'm not really worried about having that handbag cake on my site, ya know?

I'm trying to think what other logos I have on my stuff. A Mensa logo.. but they hired me for that.. then my Jeff Gordon cake has a couple logos on them. Really small and not entirely accurate.. I'm not worried. I think that's about it.

I guess where I would draw the line would depend on who is asking (the company, etc), what logo it is, and how it's being used. I don't do character cakes at all, but if I did, I wouldn't do anything licensed.

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