8 replies
hi,

if you open up an ecommerce store or blog or anything that monetizes online, how do you not get sued?

Also how do you register trademarks if you are unsure if you would you will be an estore, blog, etc...? theres corporations, LLCs, individual, etc, so im unsure if you register the wrong one and change your monetization model you might get sued from different sides.

How do you protect yourself if you are not sure of your buisiness model yet?
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    You protect yourself by LEARNING about copyright and trademark...abut how to register a trademark if you need to - how to find out whether a word/name you want to use IS trademarked and protected.


    There is no substitute for facts - and with google and legal and govt sites like nolo and TESS for trademark research....there is no excuse NOT to know the basics of business legality.



    You don't have to be an expert - that's what lawyers are for. In 2 hours of research and reading you could learn the very basic aspects of each topic you mentioned.
    Skip the ads of 'we'll do it for you' and sales pages - and go directly to authority sites for information.
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  • Profile picture of the author GoldWorldOrder
    Hi King Kay,

    I appreciate your response, are sites like legal zoom considered 'we'll do it for you' sites? and should i sway away from it if im looking to sell custom shirts and items with my own designs?

    From my research LLC is the way to go if you do the dropshipping (shopify) route since it protects you from being sued. - but i may be wrong which is why I need guidance.

    Also lets say you want to take an existing licensed thing for example the Knightrider KITT car picture and add flame decals on the side, and turn that into a custom design onto a T-shirt, how would you go about licensing that? I dont think it's that easy to reach out to a major company and ask if you could use their product and modify the design and sell it.

    There are so many BS links, videos, and sales pages that makes this all confusing.

    Thank you
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    • Profile picture of the author Faize El Ouarti
      No, as long as you don't use trade mark logos your fine! And yes If you have the llc for drop shipping you are no longer liable for liabilities!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Also lets say you want to take an existing licensed thing for example the Knightrider KITT car picture and add flame decals on the side, and turn that into a custom design onto a T-shirt, how would you go about licensing that?
    dont think it's that easy to reach out to a major company and ask if you could use their product and modify the design and sell it.
    I didn't mention legal zoom - but nolo and other 'copyright law' and "trademark law' sites. There are several govt sites that also have great info. (My answers assume you are in the U.S.).

    It would be rare for any company to allow you to use their logo to make money - let alone permit 'adding to' their logo. Sports teams, etc, do license their logos - for a big bunch of money - and won't license to just anyone.

    First thing I would suggest is to spend part of today reading threads i the 'ecommerce' and 'main' forum sections - and do forum searches to find threads about copyright and trademark and tshirt business....and how to set up your business, etc.


    There are so many BS links, videos, and sales pages that makes this all confusing.
    Of course there are - and you have to sort through them. You asked the question 12 hrs ago - for your google searches use the terms below for tutorials that will help.


    copyright basics
    trademark basics

    It's not rocket science but it's necessary to understand at least the basics - you can't simply copy what you want or use/change images to make money from use of those images.

    If you are unsure whether a word or phrase is trademarked - you can easily search TESS to see if it's registered or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    No, as long as you don't use trade mark logos your fine! And yes If you have the llc for drop shipping you are no longer liable for liabilities!

    Advice: Don't take legal advice on a forum. "Someone on a forum said it was OK" - is not a good excuse in court.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Advice: Don't take legal advice on a forum. "Someone on a forum said it was OK" - is not a good excuse in court.
      And some of the most dangerous advice you'll get in forums is "almost" right.

      For example, as I read the law (I'm not a lawyer), having an LLC will protect you from civil liability as an individual. If your delivery driver runs over someone's rose bushes, they can't sue you personally.

      On the other hand, they can sue your LLC for damages, and as the sole officer of said LLC, you may be faced with the option of paying a settlement or declaring bankruptcy. Even then, if you fail to observe the many requirements of maintaining that liability protection, a good litigator can probably "pierce the corporate veil" and sue your personal tuchis off.

      If you're that concerned, talk to a real lawyer who deals with corporate entity selection and set up. If you're in the US, contact SCORE through the US Small Business Association and you may get most of what you need for free.
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  • There is not necessary to register a company when you are just started. You can operate as an individual first until you confirm your path or until such a time that you generate bigger income.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Honestly, in the end - people can and will sue for stupid reasons. To best protect yourself, make sure you don't copy/steal any intellectual property and just use "common sense", if you buy a domain appleipads.com, you can expect a target on your back. If you buy a domain buytablets.com - it lessens the potential.

    Of course, as others have mentioned, this is not a legal forum, this is a marketing forum. If you are really concerned, then seek a lawyers advice.
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