Fiverr Community Forum

Copywright/Patents

I have an idea for a t-shirt/bumper sticker slogan/logo. If I decide to have it designed, how do I know it won’t be stolen? This is my second time posting this question and I still haven’t been able to get an answer. And I’m not talking about Fiverr’s Privacy Use policy. I’m referring to my protection from getting ripped off!

Apply for copyright to the phrase.
If it’s successful then you are protected, if it isn’t then you can’t be protected.

This protection is nothing to do with Fiverr or sellers. There is no way to get copyright protection than getting copyright.

FWIW, people always worry about this type of thing but the majority of freelancers have absolutely no interest in stealing ideas. We come across so many that it would be crazy to try decipher which ones would be worth stealing… oh, and ethics and stuff.

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I agree. People often think they have a sure winner that will make a lot of money when the truth is that it’s mundane, won’t earn much and fiverr sellers have zero interest in stealing people’s ideas for themselves, no matter how great they seem to be.

I’m sure your idea is worth a lot OP but at some point, unless you do everything yourself, you will need the assistance of someone, whether on fiverr or off.

You do have automatic copyright protection simply by the fact of being the first to actually put your idea into reality. It’s not officially documented but still it’s there.

My husband has a copyright on an item. They are costly to obtain.

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I’m sure it would also be costly to defend should the need arise, although ultimately he would win a court case. Ideally, if such a thing happened, the one who violated the copyright has plenty of money to attach.

Hi Vickie,

Thank you for your reply. I have a few questions. 1) Did your husband get a patent as well as a copyright 2) If so, what’s the difference? 3) When you say “costly” approximately how much are we talking about? And lastly, is your husband working with someone on Fiverr?

Thank you so much for your information!

Actually it was for a musical add on device. I think he only has a patent. Would a copyright be for written material? Yes, I just looked it up copyright is for written material.

No, he does not work with anyone on Fiverr. He got his patent with the help of a patent lawyer.

It’s ironic that your husband has a “musical ad” for a device. I’m actually a professional musician. I have been playing the tenor saxophone for over 40 yrs. I graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Although, my slogan/logo have nothing to do with music. But please keep me in mind, maybe I could assist your husband with his musical idea. Again, thank you very much for the information!

My husband is a drummer and has been for 50 years. He minored in music at one of our state universities. He also has studied with two world famous drummers who now are his friends, as in they text each other and when he goes to NAAM they see one another.

The simple fact is that you can’t protect it in any way. Even if you have patent protection, etc, you need lots of $$$'s to enforce this. It is also the case that a lot of countries don’t even bother to enforce copyright or patent protections.

The good news is that if your brand is successful, you can easily call out imitators on social media and have your followers act like an integrity wrecking ball that smashes your competitors to pieces.

This is assuming that you are worried about a random business coming along and stealing your band identity. If you are worried about a Fiverr seller you hire stealing your work, you don’t really need to bother. Most have better things to be doing.

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You’re not the first one who asked this question. It could happen, of course, like everywhere else you’d mention it or put up your design once it’s live.

Perhaps it helps to see it like this - the buyers with ideas of selling bumper stickers or t-shirts, or a kindle book, or whatever, are like the gold miners, while the sellers are the ones crafting and selling them the shovels.
Most sellers are interested in their own craft, in selling shovels, perfecting their shovel building craftsmanship, manufacturing better shovels, manufacturing better shovels in less time, selling more shovels, selling more shovels to customers who appreciate their shovel building craftsmanship, …

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As I recall, the lady who started Spanx got a patent and trademark protection as the first thing she did before actually producing her protocol garment. She was smart and knew for a fact she had a winning idea.

That idea made her a billionaire so it was a good idea for her to get those first.

Tesla invented alternating current, gave the idea to Edison, and the rest is history. Tesla died in poverty.

But did actually file for patents on most of his inventions. They just weren’t granted to him. :wink:

The problem with patents is the cost. When I’ve looked into it, it would cost me a minimum of $15K to protect an app just in the U.S. Add the UK and Europe into the mix and it’s a huge fisk applying for patents unless you have a suitcase full of Bitcoin and a business idea gauranteed to b a hit.

Everything gets stolen. If you have a t-shirt idea, design it, sell it, and enjoy the profits before the copycats find it. Why bother with the expense of getting a trademark when you don’t even know if it’s a good idea? Learn from the real world:

Jacksonville business owner says counterfeiters on Amazon destroying his company

When T-Shirt Bordello first started selling shirts on Amazon, owner Don Myers said the company was shipping out 80 shirts a day.

“In the middle of 2014, it really started picking up. And we were like, ‘Yeah!” All of the sudden, we got the attention of the counterfeiters,” Myers said.


Myers said Amazon removed his selling privileges when he threatened to go to the media.

But a quick search of “T-Shirt Bordello” on Amazon yields hundreds of results, none of them actually posted by Myers.

One of his designs is posted on Amazon by a distributor called “XUEZING.” The image even has Myers’ watermark on it. “T-Shirt Bordello” is in the title description. It’s selling for $8.55. Myers typically sells that same design for $20.

See? I’m sure Don Myers had trademarks, but it didn’t matter.

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AC was known before Tesla began his work. But the inventor devised an integrated system of generators, transmission lines, motors, lighting and other circuitry that made AC a feasible alternative to DC. In 1887, Tesla filed for seven patents related to his AC inventions. They were awarded without being successfully challenged. Westinghouse bought the rights to them in 1888.

Back in 1891, George Westinghouse’s company had been on the verge of bankruptcy. To help the man who had put faith in him, Tesla agreed to give up the royalties he was owed on his AC patents. The inventor could have made millions, but was instead left destitute.

He should have kept those patents.

A patent can cost from $900 for a do-it-yourself application to between $5,000 and $10,000+ with the help of patent lawyers. A patent protects an invention and the cost of the process to get the patent will depend on the type of patent (provisional, non-provisional, or utility) and the complexity of the invention.

Filing a non-provisional patent with lawyer fees will usually cost the following for each invention type:

  • An extremely simple invention, such as a paper clip or coat hanger, will cost between $5,000 and $7,000.
  • A relatively simple invention, such as a board game or umbrella, will cost between $7,000 and $8,500.
  • A minimally complex invention, such as a power hand tool or camera, will cost between $8,500 and $10,000.
  • A moderately complex invention, such as a ride-on lawn mower or a cell phone, will cost between $10,000 and $12,000.
  • A relatively complex invention, such as a shock-absorbing prosthetic product, will cost between $12,000 and $14,000.
  • A highly complex invention, such as an MRI scanner or satellite technology, will cost between $14,000 and $16,000.
  • A software-related invention, such as an automated system or a business program, will cost more than $16,000.

I had always heard Tesla worked for Edison but according to this it was Westinghouse. I’m not sure how accurate this description of Tesla is.

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Why don’t you go with a local shop to produce your best idea? Then, use your second best idea on Fiverr. But it’s unlikely that it would be stolen, and if it did, that it would become viral, like Smudge the Cat.

I’d contact a creative agency. They have a legal department, in-house designers and each of those in-house designers is given a pep talk in lines of “Listen, we know that the access to this brief and source files was given to 4 people and you’re one of them. If it gets stollen or leaked, we’ll know it’s you and your be liable for $20 000 - $30 000 (an average penalty I was personally threatened with)”. It’s $500-2000+ for a design but there are certain guarantees that are included.

I know that it doesn’t answer your question per se, but the entire line of thinking doesn’t apply to fiverr (or any other international freelance website) and the process of how things are done here, IMO. Which might be a reason of why you’re not getting your question answered here.

The issue has to be handled via pattern and trademark attorneys if it is a big concern before the design is even considered to be put into production. They charge hourly fees for a most basic consultation but they’ll be able to advise if there are any measures you can take to protect your idea.

If I was really afraid of this I would hire someone in a third world country, and/or someone who was so busy and such a good designer they are constantly in demand as a designer here on fiverr. They really are unlikely to have any interest whatsoever in stealing your ideas.

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