Tucson, AZ asked in Copyright for Arizona

Q: Copyright question: can I copyright a clever word combination to apply on mugs, caps, sweatshirts, etc.?

It would not be a product line, but simply applied to existing products that I would buy at wholesale, then resell at retail. The appeal would be in the applique, more than on the vehicle that carries it.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Michael Gerity
Michael Gerity
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: What you are describing is best protected with trademark, not copyright. You are describing selling products with a particular name/phrase/slogan attached to them, which is precisely what trademarks protect. The fact that you buy the products from a vendor doesn't change it because, as you say, the selling point is the name/phrase/slogan. Of course, you would want to make sure that the underlying products to which you apply the trademark are not junk, or else your brand would suffer.

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