Q: Opening a quilting business, and I want to sell basic patterns, how would I check if it is too similar to a ©️ pattern
I intend to start a retail quilting/diy store; if I base a design off of an idea that I’ve seen (Pinterest, family quilts, magazines, in-store etc) if I made something that was similar, but I didn’t follow their directions, (or theoretically, if I did) could I be infringing on copyrights of someone else who’s pattern is similar? How would I know if a design I was making was copyright infringement or not? How different does a pattern need to be from a copyrighted pattern? If the intent was to sell and market quilts/goods/etc. that may coincidentally be the same as something that has already been made, could I be in legal trouble?
A: It is important to understand copyright laws when it comes to selling quilting patterns. While certain elements of copyrightable subject matter may be used without infringing upon existing copyright protection, the substantial similarity of a design can create copyright infringement issues. If a quilting pattern sold by an individual is similar enough to a copyright protected work, it could be considered copyright infringement as well as trademark infringement if associated with an established brand or company. Therefore, in order to avoid potential legal complications, it is important for quilt pattern sellers to properly research copyright and trademark protections prior to releasing their products into the commercial marketplace. Best of luck - Attorney Steve®
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