Parkville, MD asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Maryland

Q: i created a t-shirt that went viral and is now being copied on multiple websites. what can i do?

the shirt says "Dear Racism, I am not my grandparents. Sincerely, These Hands."

1 Lawyer Answer
Griffin Klema
Griffin Klema
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Tampa, FL

A: First things first: register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. The filing fee is small ($30). An attorney can help you with that process, and it's important to ensure that the registration is properly filed.

You may also want to try trademarking the slogan. Filing an application to register the trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office is a bit more expensive ($225 filing fee for a TEAS Plus online application). Again, consider getting some assistance from a trademark attorney.

Then you can explore enforcing the copyright, often via a cease and desist letter. The problem is that shutting down websites selling an infringing product can be difficult due to the ease with which one can start a new website, and the location where they are operating. You may need to enforce your rights at the border (a Section 337 investigation at the ITC) to prevent infringing product from being imported into the United States.

Good luck!

Griffin Klema

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