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Another Crazy Cafe Press Site

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I thought I'd give this a shot and come up with a logo to support Laissez-faire capitalism... I just don't have the time to worry about inventory and shipping so Cafe Press looked pretty good. I've ordered a mug, bumper sticker and t-shirt. Can't comment on durability, but they look pretty good.


Enjoy. Feedback is welcome.


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One question... it "Lai$$ez-Faire" actually trademarked--or trademarkeable, for that mattter?  I mean, since it's just "liassez-faire" with $ signs?

You're assuming they actually trademarked it. So many times you see stuff on sites like Cafe Press and Ebay that say TM that just put it on there to either give the air of legitimacy or scare of people trying to duplicate their designs. You see it quite often at craft shows. Signs about how all their designs for crocheted tea cozies are copyrighted and anyone photographing them will be sued to the maximum extent of the law etc etc.

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Look carefully... I'm actually asking if it's trademarked.  And if it's trademarkeable.  But as you said, just guessing--it's probably not.  Too bad people abuse the trademark symbol so much.

To quote Homer Simpson, D'Oh! I didn't see them saying it was trademarked. And yes I misread your question. Mea Culpa.

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These are good questions. Since I'm always on the USPTO web site (I read patent lit alot) this is a nice summary of when the TM can be used:


From the PTO site:


Is registration of my mark required?

No. You can establish rights in a mark based on legitimate use of the mark. However, owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several advantages, e.g., constructive notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark; a legal presumption of the registrant's ownership of the mark and the registrant's exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration; the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court; the use of the U.S registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries; and the ability to file the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.

When can I use the trademark symbols TM, SM and ®?

Any time you claim rights in a mark, you may use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO. However, you may use the federal registration symbol "®" only after the USPTO actually registers a mark, and not while an application is pending. Also, you may use the registration symbol with the mark only on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the federal trademark registration.


These stipulations allow the small business to test market a product without necessarily filing for TM. If the product is somewhat successful, you can then register the mark and use the "®" symbol. I believe, similar to how patents in the US are not first to file, but first to invent (although it's becoming very difficult if not impossible to protect based on that) if you have documentation of the date the product was first offered for sale, you can use that date as a priority date in establishing Trademark status.

Finally, my cousin-in-law is a photographer and says that pictures she takes are automatically copyright. So similar laws protect photographers and artists. However, with the proliferation of digital cameras and professional looking photos, I've read that some amateur photographers are having a hard time getting places like Wal Mart to print their photos because the photo centers there don't believe that those pictures are really amateur and are afraid of infringing on a photographers copyright.

Also, as to what a TM is:



What is a trademark or service mark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this booklet, the terms "trademark" and "mark" refer to both trademarks and service marks.

Do Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents protect the same things?

No. Trademarks, copyrights and patents all differ. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work; a patent protects an invention. For copyright information, go to http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/. For patent information, go to http://www.uspto.gov/main/patents.htm.



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Interesting, to address the copyright issue as well:



When is my work protected?

Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?

No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”

Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?

Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration” and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works.


The only thing I've ever registered for copyright was my Ph.D. dissertation.


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