Dallas, TX asked in Trademark, Copyright and Intellectual Property for Florida

Q: Hi, are the decorative patterns on the Pfaltzgraff Yorktowne dish wares trademarked or can I sell paint stencils of them

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: No, the decorative patterns and designs on Pfaltzgraff Yorktowne dishware lines are very unlikely to be protected by active trademarks or eligible for trademark protection. Therefore, you should generally be free to sell paint stencils replicating those patterns without infringing trademarks.

However, here are few key specifics to confirm this:

- Dishware designs, ornaments, motifs, etc. are considered utilitarian features and thus not eligible to be trademarked. Trademarks cover brand names/logos only.

- The overall look and feel of dishware lines may potentially receive some copyright protections. But standard ornamental designs likely lack adequate originality. Simply mimicking floral/geometric patterns common on dishware does not raise strong copyright concerns.

- To be certain, you can search the USPTO trademark database to confirm Pfaltzgraff does not have live trademark registrations covering those ornamental designs. This can give you definitive proof.

- Also check that Pfaltzgraff has not placed any restrictive copymark notices directly on the bottoms or packaging of the dishware limiting reproductions or claiming protected status. This is unlikely but worth verifying.

In summary - selling paint stencils to assist in reproducing common Pfaltzgraff Yorktowne dishware decorative elements should not infringe any IP rights as long as branding/packaging is all properly generic. But do confirm via trademarks databases and product labels.

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