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Rick
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I have been meaning to ask this question for some time. Say you make a sign, if you sell it could you be infringing on someone's patent?

Say someone wants the Edmonton oilers logo, or your making a sign with a known slogan, if it's not for personal use or a gift, I believe you can be sued?
 

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Rick,
Yes you can get your t*t in a wringer if you copy a trademarked image!!!! I posted a Harley Davidson sign on Etsy - took about 2 weeks and I (and quite a few others)got 2 nasty emails. One from Etsy and the other from HD legal. Not that I won't do something for someone I know, but not openly advertised. You gotta watch it.

Now you can pay a fee to the trademark holder and a % of each sale. But you'd never sell enough of them to pay the fees, unless Tom markets them for you.
 
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David - Machinist in wood
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It wouldn't be a patent infringement, Rick, but likely a trademark infringement. Someone can commission you to build an item with the Harley Davidson or Edmonton Oilers logo and you can build that for them royalty free. You can build a hundred of them and give to friends and family if you want. But if you decide to build more and market them for sale then you'll have to pay the piper.

Basically you can - patent a design, machine, or product, etc.; trademark a word, phrase, style, or design that identifies or separates your product from others; and copyright an original artistic endeavor (song, woodworking art, painting, etc.).

Each has its own lifespan, as well. In general a copyright for the original idea holder lasts until his/her death plus 70 years. A patent is 15-17 years depending on the type and who you talk to. A trademark is generally indefinite. Obviously there are exceptions and additions to this and qualifying conditions but this is a fair rule of thumb (for US items, that is, not international - whole different ball game).

I didn't research this so if I'm off a bit I'm sure someone will let me know but this is the general knowledge I try to keep in mind. And likewise there are volumes of this on the Internet but if you need to take advantage of most of this you'll be working with an attorney anyway.

David
 

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Theo
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Hey Tom. Ordered a copy of that book yesterday, $8.90+, used, and free shipping. Got an e-mail, shipped today.

I've got no worry about trademark infringement, I design all my own stuff. However, I have read that if you make 7, or more, changes to a trademark, it is then considered your work. Don't recall where I read this, possibly on the patent and trademarks site. I once used a photo taken in about 1914, of an individual from one of the NorthWest tribes, to use as the face for my cigar store Indian bank. Later figured out I had made 11 changes from the photo - all hand sketched.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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And to take it a step further, the moment you create your special design it is yours and yours alone. This is important in the marketplace for sites like Etsy, that truly honors the copyright owner, if you design and build something to sell on Etsy and subsequently see your work being recreated by others then Etsy will pull the item off the other seller's store or shut them down completely until it is resolved. If you post the copyright sign on your photos and in your write up then you have an even stronger case in your favor. If you take it a step further and register your design with the US Copyright office then you have real teeth in your effort and gaining a judgment on your behalf and in your favor is far easier, should it become necessary.

This goes for all marketplace efforts, not just Etsy, but Etsy is one that truly enforces this and supports originality. Now you can't copyright a modification of a cutting board, let's say, if you see one you like and just exchange Pecan for Cherry and then try and call it original. But if you create a cutting board with a unique inlay or feature that you've never seen before and you are certain it is your original idea then you can copyright that.

I have yet to open our Etsy shop but when I do there are several designs of items I know are my original ideas and those are marked with the copyright symbol and spelled out in the description. It would be nice to have the problem of something being so good in design and creation that others want to copy your work but that may be a lofty goal - LOL!

David
 

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Rick
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Perhaps if @patlaw sees this thread he might respond, but I haven't seen him active in a while. I believe he is a patent lawyer.

Having said that, I agree with David in that it wouldn't be a patent infringement but a trademark infringement.
Guys I meant to say trademark , but couldn't remember what it was called. I see some people on Sharks Tank get tuned in real quick when they mention using someone's logos etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Copyrights, trademarks, patents are irrelevant if you are making something with a protected image or slogan for the holder. You just can't reproduce and sell it to others. Your permission is the written order with attached drawings. You can and should keep some samples of projects to show off, and photographs for your website, email newsletters and social media. The pictures and objects also let prospects know that you work with top tier clients. Call them clients, not customers. Whole different mind set.
 

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Theo
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Call them clients, not customers. Whole different mind set.
Very glad I went back and went thru this thread again. If that book helps me as much as you have so far, I'll be squattin' in tall cotton.
 

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Mike
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One thing you need to remember when you start doing work for other people, it takes time from the projects you design and want to make. Your creativity might sit on your computer for many years before you get a chance to build it or may only take up space on the computer hard drive and never see the light of day. This can also extend over into your everyday life and you could find it hard to find the time to do house repairs, work on cars, mow the property and everything else.

Another thing to consider when you do work for other people, they may want you to use materials that are not suited to the project to save a few dollars and may not agree with using quality construction techniques to save time on a project. They offer the piece for sale and when someone asks who built it they tell them you built it but they don't tell them you tried to get them to use the right materials and to use better construction techniques so you could end up with a bad reputation for the quality you produce. This type of work you don't want because not only are you making bad product you will eat yourself alive because you know it is wrong.
 

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@MEBCWD you decline to do work like that, no point. Maybe lose the client? What you do is replace a lousy client or one who asks you to do poor work with a good one who understands that ou are protecting their interest. If you are doing the sort of marketing I described, you will gradually reach the good guys and gals. Mike is absolutely correct about the loser when you compromise or accept work that is lousy; it will be you.

@Gaffboat Oliver was right about how "making a good living" is very subjective. It does take some time to put this kind of marketing program in place, but there is also a learning curve so you don't necessarily want to explode on the scene. My doctor clients usually take 4-6 months to put our approach in place, sometimes longer. But that is about the interval it takes to train to a basic skill level.

For example, you'd want to take the classes and visit the experts mentioned in this string. When I started my business, I cut my expenses to the bone and spent a couple of years building my knowledge, reading and studying and working with just a few clients so even if my performance was spotty, it wouldn't put a hex on my reputation forever.

You can get help from Small Business Administration consultants, usually retired business people who want to contribute to younger peoples' success. We had some help this last year from one of these volunteers to get my daughter up to speed, and to update our brand and paper presentation.
 

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Theo
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I take it that this is not the proper way to go about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
And to take it a step further, the moment you create your special design it is yours and yours alone.
David
I believe you can reinforce ownership of the material by putting it in a self-addressed, registered envelope, sending it to yourself and leaving it sealed. You must also put a copyright mark on those pages, and on all copies, on the back of products, as well.

I have nearly a thousand pages of maerial and every page has a copyright mark, my name and the year created. And I call attention to the copyright with each client.
 

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Theo
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I believe you can reinforce ownership of the material by putting it in a self-addressed, registered envelope, sending it to yourself and leaving it sealed. You must also put a copyright mark on those pages, and on all copies, on the back of products, as well.

I have nearly a thousand pages of maerial and every page has a copyright mark, my name and the year created. And I call attention to the copyright with each client.
I like the idea of putting a copyright mark on each of my canes and banks. I'm not going to be making 1,000s of them, or probably even 100s, but still, I really like the idea. Now to make a stamp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I like the idea of putting a copyright mark on each of my canes and banks. I'm not going to be making 1,000s of them, or probably even 100s, but still, I really like the idea. Now to make a stamp.
A hot stamp (wood burning) is a nice way to put it on a product. Rockler has this, but I'm sure you can find one elsewhere.
 

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Theo
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A hot stamp (wood burning) is a nice way to put it on a product. Rockler has this, but I'm sure you can find one elsewhere.
Nah, I've got an article stuck away somewhere on how to make one. But, if I can't find the article, probably, I can still work one up. Always more fun to make your own stuff, and loads less costly.
 
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