Legal Question in Intellectual Property in California

Copyrighting a phrase

Is it possible to copyright a phrase that I would like to market on t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc. If so, do I do a trademark, copyright, both?

Asked on 6/10/02, 1:24 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Amy Ghosh Law Offices of Amy Ghosh

Re: Copyrighting a phrase

Copyright and Trademark both. If need any help...contact me at 818-481-9284

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Answered on 6/10/02, 2:16 pm
John Fagerholm Law Offices of John W. Fagerholm

Re: Copyrighting a phrase

Dear Amy:

A phrase that you want to put on a t-shirt should be trademarked. A copyright is for a creation (poem, song, etc.) that you put in a tangible form. How soon are you looking to start putting the phrase on the t-shirts. Trademarks take some time to register.

John W. Fagerholm, Esq.

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Answered on 6/11/02, 6:18 pm
Keith E. Cooper Keith E. Cooper, Esq.

Re: Copyrighting a phrase

For a phrase, your better choice would most likely be trademark, but you may also be able to copyright depending upon the length of the phrase, whether you are using it as a design, and other factors.

Trademark is an expensive and time-consuming process and it would be in your interest to consult with a competent trademark/copyright attorney before proceeding. A brief consultation could save you time, money, and effort.

If you are in Los Angeles and would like further help, please feel free to call me for an appointment.

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Answered on 6/18/02, 5:58 pm


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