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Dan Vega avatar image
Dan Vega asked ·

Would this design be rejected

I saw a pretty cool t-shirt that Tom Brady had and I thought we would use this as a quick experiment. We are having this discussion in some of the facebook groups and I thought I would bring it here. This t-shirt references the New England Patriots winning the Super Bowl and taking a jab at commissioner Roger Goodell. They are now 5x champions and the latest one is on the middle finger (another jab at the commissioner)

I was hoping we could get someone from Amazon to speak to this. This is not my design and I don't plan on using anything like it. I just think it would help those of us understand the blurred lines of what is acceptable and what isn't. Assuming we used no trademarked words in our titles or keywords would this design be accepted?

merch by amazoncopyright
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T-Shirt Design Fan avatar image
T-Shirt Design Fan answered ·

I doubt they will reply to this here but it's worth a try. Nevertheless this is sooooooooo clever!! LOL Love it.

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Dan Vega avatar image
Dan Vega answered ·

It's just scary because most of the people in the groups say it will get rejected while others are saying you will get kicked off of Merch for this. I understand the need for rules but they are killing creativity.

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Rule of thumb to decide if a shirt is infringing on a Brand is as follows: Is the shirt designed to appeal to specific fans? Whether the shirt includes teams names colors etc is irrelevant, the above shirt is designed to appeal to fans of the Patriots, just because it makes no mention of this does not mean it would not infringe the brand. Without the Patriots the shirt would never have been made. If pursued via the courts it would fall under "customer confusion" meaning fans may purchase believing it to be officially licensed merchandise, or "Diluting the Brand"

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Maverick Merchant avatar image
Maverick Merchant answered ·

This is so obvious, you are seeking to sell designs based on not just a team but also a personality. It is definitely a no-go area. It isn't killing creativity, it is protecting people's Trademarks and rights to their own names. As @T-Shirt Design Fan says the only reply you are likely to get is a link to the terms of service, understandably they don't have time to get into everyone's individual query on potential design infringements. I'd suggest you sell it on other platforms, but don't even try on Merch.

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Maverick makes a good point. If you're trying to circumvent, best to skip. Amazon may grade circumvention attempts worse than posting actual trademark violations. In the first case, it's an obvious attempt to beat the system, in the latter, it could be a simple oversight. It's not worth risking your account in my opinion.

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Bottom line, it has nothing to do with whether anything is Trademarked or how cleverly it disguises things. The important thing is the intent and trading off someone else's fame. Would you create a shirt with different years and the name Fred? Unlikely, because it would mean nothing to anyone. So, the shirt is being targeted at fans of the Super Bowl, even if there is no mention on the shirt or in any description/keywords. I agree with Chris that Merch would likely consider it a deliberate attempt to bypass their filters and therefore more probable to get account closed, rather than just a rejection or removal of design.

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Names can not be trademarked, obviously.

Also, I didn't see a team name or logo on the shirt, so how is it based on a team? This could be for some local armed forces ping-pong champions who won their state these 5 years, couldn't it?

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I am not trying to sell this shirt, just trying to understand. Roger can't be trademarked and they are saying Super Bowl champs, just world champs which also isn't trademarked.

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newuser-077e44cf-a224-42bc-abdd-06fe2b786e50 avatar image
newuser-077e44cf-a224-42bc-abdd-06fe2b786e50 answered ·

Dan, remember, Merch is extremely competitive, so answers you may get from other sellers will almost always have a bias, especially if you are breaching into their design ideas or future ideas they had, or if they think it's a good idea. We as sellers are here to help each other in some cases, but doesn't competition make us competitors as well? I think it would be hypocritical and naive to say otherwise. Something to think about when seeking advice from sellers.

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Dan Vega avatar image
Dan Vega answered ·

Great discussion guys... Again just to be clear. This is not my design nor do I plan on creating any design like this. I am just trying to figure out like most people where to draw the line.

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Hi Dan, no worries, we understood it wasn't yours. In regards to getting a go or no go from Amazon... Leia has previously stated a few times that Amazon is unable to prescreen designs. I wish they would, it would be nice to have that option when questions loom. Chris

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ScottFromWyoming avatar image
ScottFromWyoming answered ·

I'm not seeing the image (late to the party, I guess). Can you link to it on some other site?

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HTTP Status 403 -


type Status report

message

description Access to the specified resource has been forbidden.


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newuser-152bef9b-8cf2-47a4-bb4a-ccb84f0ed56e avatar image
newuser-152bef9b-8cf2-47a4-bb4a-ccb84f0ed56e answered ·

Stay away from major league sports. They are greedy and they are mean and they have expensive lawyers that enforce their intellectual property rights, including some rights that they don't have. Just my 2 cents as a fellow designer who doesn't do any merch connected to any sport.

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TEES avatar image
TEES answered ·

Just do your own thing. Make yourself a brand on its own. You can follow trend but stay away of making it obvious and a future IP issue, or takedown.

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newuser-27604325-01be-4d4f-8d2e-f0c847192495 avatar image
newuser-27604325-01be-4d4f-8d2e-f0c847192495 answered ·

To be blunt, just about anything you *think* might be an issue is an issue. And even some things you dont think are, are. I can give you 2 examples from personal experience on a different website.

I had a takedown notice on a design of a yellow smiley face because the company Smiley inc or something aparently either does, or thinks they own the right to every yellow smiley face.

I also came up with a design of an Anarchy symbol that said trust no one on it. I came up with it from my head. I was just thinking about all the politics and how people don't trust the government. It got taken down. i searched for the phrase Anarchy trust no one and found there is a music group called bros of anarchy with a CD titled trust no one. So even though I came up with it on my own and had nothing to do with them, it was still taken down.

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