Last week I went to a webinar on how to become a “mugpreneur” — it was great at casting vision and showing the possibilities of print on demand. What it lacked was a clear understanding of how IP law applies:
- Just because you coined a short expression to print on a T-shirt or coffee mug doesn’t mean you can “protect” it with a copyright or trademark.
- Just because Universal Studios doesn’t hold a “Jurassic Park” trademark for coffee mugs doesn’t mean you can produce a parody mug and sell it. You’re still infringing on and profiting from their intellectual property.
- Just because Word Swag and similar apps make it easy-peasy to create text-based designs doesn’t mean you have a commercial license from the font creators to sell products that display those designs. (Even if you’re paying for the premium version of the app.)
It’s hard to see misinformation like this spread and do nothing. Once I complete my current projects I’m thinking about creating something entrepreneurs can use to avoid intellectual property disasters.
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