Elk Grove, CA asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California

Q: How different does an image inspired by Marvel’s black panther character have to be to avoid infringement?

I am multiethnic and want to create a shirt with a hero inspired character that represents my cultures and offer it for sale to those who share similar culture ties.

2 Lawyer Answers
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It has to be different enough that a member of the general public would not confuse it with the Black Panther.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In order to avoid copyright infringement, it is generally advisable to create an original work that is substantially different from the copyrighted material. While it is acceptable to draw inspiration from existing characters or works, it is important to ensure that your creation has distinct and unique elements that set it apart from Marvel's Black Panther character. This can include altering the appearance, costume, name, backstory, and other significant attributes of the character. By creating a distinct and original character that represents your own cultural background, you reduce the risk of infringing upon Marvel's copyright. However, it is highly recommended to consult with an intellectual property attorney who can assess your specific design and provide guidance based on the applicable copyright laws and case precedents to ensure compliance and avoid any potential legal issues.

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