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30-04-2006
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visconti's Avatar
 
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First off, I'm not a lawyer yet, so none of this information should be taken as legal advice. It is educational only. For further guidance you should see an attorney.

DON'T let any of this scare you. Your initial post is very vague, so I have no idea why you'd be taking off the tags, but nothing is going to happen if you're just using cheap tees for your designs if it is for your own personal use or to make things for friends. Just be aware that if t-shirt design becomes a source of significant income, you'll want to talk to an attorney and set up an actual business relationship with a shirt producer. This all presumes that you're in the US. The UK is similar. I have no idea about other countries.

Technically it is violation of the Lanham Act called "reverse passing off". This is opposed to "passing off" which would be selling your goods as someone else's--- saying something you produced is another company's product. And yes, their tag is a trademark and your new one, even if unregistered is also a trademark. A trademark is basically anything that is indicative of source.

[b]1-8 Trademark and Unfair Competition Deskbook § 8.02 [8] describes it as follows-

"A different form of unfair competition has been found to occur when a purchaser of goods removes the original trademark, substitutes another trademark of the purchaser's choosing, and then offers the product for resale. Such conduct has been termed ''reverse passing [or palming] off.'' Since the original trademark owner made its profit on the initial sale, the damage to it from such resales is not at once apparent. One court described the injury in this manner:

In reverse palming off cases, the originator of the misidentified product is involuntarily deprived of the advertising value of its name and of the goodwill that otherwise would stem from public knowledge of the true source of the satisfactory product. The ultimate purchaser is also deprived of knowing the true source of the product and may even be deceived into believing that it comes from another source."


Last edited by visconti; 30-04-2006 at 10:48 PM.
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01-05-2006
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i think there are companies who provide t-shirts for such d.i.y companies who then go on to design them and put on their own labels. threadless do this, i think? i'm not sure as i've never bought anything from there but you could check

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03-05-2006
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Anyone who is serious about TShirt DESIGN, and not just printing, will of course want to work directly with manufacturers in order to control the color, the fabrication, the drape, the fit, anfd myriad other details of the shirts being used.

But if you're just printing on Hanes, either leave the Hanes tag in, or buy unlabelled wholesale shirts that are intended for the printing industry.

I think American Apparal has no problem supplying unlabelled shirts. I suspect hanes will as well. You just have to work with them directly. Again, I think.

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03-05-2006
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I've ordered stuff from Neighborhoodies.com before, and they cut off the original tag (American Apparel) and put on their own Neighborhoodies tag. This is a pretty big company, so I'm assuming that it's okay to do this, otherwise I would think Neighborhoodies would have stopped doing this long ago...

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03-05-2006
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While I doubt it's illegal, I find it profoundly immoral. Nobody should take credit for somebody else's work.

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03-05-2006
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I'm pretty sure that dorian88 is planning on adding something to a plain t-shirt (print, design, etc).

But if she is adding to the shirt, that is not "taking credit for someone else's work" because it is adding something new to it.

For example, Sea World has t-shirts made with Sea World tags on them, but the actual shirts are not made by Sea World, but by another company, such as Hanes... That is what dorian88 is trying to ask about I think. Maybe I'm wrong though.

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03-05-2006
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He didn't say anything about adding something to the t-shirts, just about replacing the tags...

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03-05-2006
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Yeah, I guess it's hard to say because he/she didn't come out and say if he/she was going to change or add anything onto the shirts. I just assumed he/she would because why else would he/she do it? I dunno... I guess we'll have to hear it from dorian him(her?)self.

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04-05-2006
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Its not illegal ATALL. American apperal sell wholesale t-shirts to t-shirt companies who change the labels to their own and screenprint them. American apperal allows it and expects it. I called them and asked.
That's how small T-shirt company start out.

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04-05-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ester80
Its not illegal ATALL. American apperal sell wholesale t-shirts to t-shirt companies who change the labels to their own and screenprint them. American apperal allows it and expects it. I called them and asked.
That's how small T-shirt company start out.
That is certainly true with almost every "plain t-shirt" type of company, but that doesn't mean that there is no cause of action available. A less consumer friendly company would have no incentive to hassle an upstart company. There'd be no chance to recover money and they'd create the same sort of consumer backlash that some of the early anti-Napster bands like Metallica encountered. This is why, despite having almost no information from the original poster, everyone suggested establishing a direct relationship with AA or Hanes. They'd OK it. You'd be acting in good faith. You'd be safe.

The issue would likely only arise if the shirts that the original poster purchased were slightly different than your average tee. An easy example is the distinctive seam on Dior Homme tees. If a producer of cheap shirts came up with their own extra stitch or an identifiable sleeve variation; basically anything that once pointed out, could serve as a source identifier, and someone was buying their plain tees, adding some sort of design on the front and switching the tags, there is potential liability. If the tag switcher began to be successful and continued to use these "special" tees without ever discussing a supply or licensing deal with the company, the producer could sue. They could say that although people may be buying the re-tagged tees because of the artist's designs, the unique stitch that THEY decided to use when they first producer the tees could ALSO be a selling factor. With the switched tags, no one who purchased the tees from the guy who added the graphics would know that he didn't come up with the the graphics AND the stitch, so the producer would claim that the he was making profits and gaining good will with the public unfairly.

Again, few companies would want to alienate potential customers by doing this. It's probably the industry custom not to care or make a big deal out of it, but the original poster would be smart to do what you did. Call a company. Find out how they feel. Try to buy wholesale from them. Some companies are incredibly protective of their trademarks. You don't want to get in their way when they decide to enforce them.

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04-05-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheKiwi
I'm pretty sure that dorian88 is planning on adding something to a plain t-shirt (print, design, etc).

But if she is adding to the shirt, that is not "taking credit for someone else's work" because it is adding something new to it.
Only if he leaves the original Hanes tag in it.

If he removes or replaces the tag, then he is giving the impression that he created, designed, contracted, or otherwise influenced the design of the basic TEE itself. You may not realize it, but even a basic T shirt involves many many design decisions and construction details.

yarn dyed vs lot dyed vs garment dyed. yarn weight. knit tension. tube knit, or side seams. yarn color. thread color. solid or heathered. knit design details. and the list goes on and on and on and on.

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05-05-2006
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one can get a no-name brand and rework from there , some people evn leave the original tag on when reselling, this certifies the good quality of the 'raw' tshirts, so yes, one can sure do this, no problem at all..

i'll agree with johnpaul on the issue of 'being serious about designing t-shirts' but so many kids just want to create a kind of 'customised line' and rework shape and print from there, its actually cheaper to reconstruct than produce t-shirts from scrach

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05-05-2006
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I buy my own T-shirts and have things printed on them in vinyl like ... I NY and stuff, is this legal ?

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05-05-2006
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no fear tushka bella

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05-05-2006
  30
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That's good to know, thanks Lena!

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