There are several ways to protect your artifacts, designs, products, services and systems and these are: copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, design registration, utility patents, industrial design rights, trade dress. This page lists available ways to protect your designs, but for more details contact an IP lawyer.
Similarly, copyrights — exclusive legal rights that grant the originator the power to decide who or what can recreate their copyrighted property — give designers legal protection against copycats only when it comes to design.
Watermarks – Watermarks are a good deterrent and can prevent people from stealing your images. Designers typically do not like changing the look of their designs with watermarks, but many feel they are the best deterrent to theft. Some resort to a small signature and website logo on the bottom of the design as well.
You don't have to register the rights to your design to copyright it. Since 1978, copyright in the United States has been automatic. However, you'll need to register the rights to your design if you plan to sue someone who infringes on your rights, and registration also creates a public record that you own the design.
Once your work or design has been registered with the Copyright Office, consider filing an infringement suit against your infringer. If successful, you can recover money damages in the amount of the monetary damages to your business and brand as well as your infringer's profits.
If you create original sketches of your designs, those sketches are protected by copyright law. That means that no one can copy, distribute, publicly display, etc. your sketch without your permission. However, copyright protects original expression, not ideas.
To be sure no one improperly uses your business's name or branding, you need to obtain a trademark. To do so, you'll need to file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Filing an application does not automatically mean your trademark will be approved.
Designers can obtain protection for their fashion designs by applying for a design patent. Design patents protect the look of a design, or ornamentation, as long as it is novel, nonfunctional and nonobvious to a designer of ordinary skill in the art.
You can receive design registration from IP Australia for an initial five-year period. Design registration protects the appearance of the product, but not its functionality. To register your design, it needs to be new, as well as unique and distinct from other existing designs.
Copyright is a group of exclusive rights belonging to the author of an original work to reproduce, distribute, perform or create derivatives of that work.
You might trademark a design for a logo, a label or product packaging. You gain trademark protection by using the design in business. A copyright protects original works of authorship. You automatically have a copyright in any design you create and fix in a tangible medium such as paper, cloth or a digital medium.
How to legally protect your logo design. To protect your logo, you need a trademark or service mark (trademarks are generally used for products, while service marks are usually applied to services). You should not copyright or patent a logo design.
You can trademark your logo, a combination of words, shapes, specific colours, images and even phrases under protection law. Your trademark needs to be distinctive and original. In a lot of cases, it might be a good idea to get both a copyright AND a trademark to protect your logo.
Register Your Trademark
The best thing founders can do to legally protect their brands is to register their trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You can do it online, but founders should definitely consider enlisting the help of an attorney, as there are many forms to fill out and strict deadlines.
Despite there being a robust debate on the web, there's really only one correct answer. I hate to break it to you, but under US Copyright law, the designer automatically owns all rights to the work they do. That's right. All rights and ownership belong to the creator of the work (i.e., the designer).
If you have a hot new T-shirt design and want to legally protect it, you need to license it by copyrighting. Copyrighting your design will prevent others from using and profiting from your concept.
In most cases, applying for a copyright is very cheap. You can spend as little as $35 if you're happy to register without legal help, and there's only one author to consider. However, most applications will incur a fee of around $55. That's because there are often designers to think about too.
By copying, it means any methodical effort to duplicate someone's work, in whole or in part, for any work that can be protected by copyright. A design can be protected by copyright, therefore any methodical effort to duplicate someone's design is restricted under copyright law.
In other words, only the owner has the legal right to copy and reproduce their own work. No one can use anyone's intellectual property without the owner's permission. So, the creator of the original material has exclusive rights over the use of the content in any form under the copyright law.
According to statute, any person who "invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent" from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. To protect your invention, you must apply for a patent.
To officially register your artwork or other creative content expressed in a tangible format, follow these steps: Sign up for a free Copyright Office account using this link. Select Register after you log in. Fill out the lengthy registration form.