You can start to protect your intellectual property right away. The most important for you will likely be trademarking your product names, logos, etc. You can file for federal registrations before you ship your first bottle, or you can do it after you've been in business for years, or anywhere between there. There are, of course, business reasons why you'd want to do it earlier or later.
John Espinosa's answer Selling online is still selling, and selling them with the decal on gives the appearance of being a licensed product when it is not. What you describe is using someone else's brand for commercial purposes without their permission. The printer may have the license to sell the decals, but that does not give you or anyone else the ability to use those decals to then sell products. You would need to license the logos from the owners of the trademarks and copyrights in question, because both apply.
Mark A. Baker's answer You have described a "poor man's copyright." It's worth about as much as the piece of paper it's written on, but not after you add postage. Under U.S. law, a copyright comes into existence the moment the original idea is "fixed in a tangible medium" - when you record the original song on a cassette tape, you have fixed it in a tangible medium. However, under U.S. law, the only way to enforce the copyright is through the federal courts, and that requires registration of the copyright with the...
Kevin E. Flynn's answer There are a lot of people that are pretty unclear on the difference between patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
I cannot see a way for John Deere to own generic images of tractors under a utility patent. They could chase protection for a particular way their actual tractor (or a toy tractor) looks under a design patent for a limited time (15 years). They can seek trademark protection. One can seek protection for a distinctive color when used for a particular product. This is rare...
Benton R Patterson III's answer Filing a trademark application is easy and inexpensive. Expect a $275 fee to the government and a small amount of professional time to prepare the application. The more expensive and complicated part of the trademark application process is responding to the government attorney's legal arguments about your proposed trademark and analyzing potentially conflicting trademarks. An attorney would need to review your proposed trademark to estimate the cost to prosecute the application. Generally, I...
Will Blackton's answer Did you receive an initial response from the USPTO (usually within about three months of your original application)? It can take a year to a year and a half before your trademark registration is completed.
I would encourage you to find out the status of the application you've already filed, before seeking an attorney to assist you file an application for the same trademark.
Reach out to 2-3 attorneys, who do free consultations, via the "find a lawyer" function at the top of...
Will Blackton's answer Have you filed for copyright protection for the image? If so, it's likely that an attorney would assist you for a portion of any money recovered from the person infringing. Filing for copyright protection for a single work of visual art is $35, it's $55 to file for multiple works. Determine who owns the rights to this logo, you or your client, before filing for protection.
Consult with an attorney if you have additional questions about the process.
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