Is it possible that I committed copyright infringement by making a dress that looks like someone else’s?

UPDATED: Aug 26, 2011

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Is it possible that I committed copyright infringement by making a dress that looks like someone else’s?

I sell handmade tutu’s and dresses from my home. I recently saw a picture of a cute lollipop themed tutu dress and loved it so I made one just like it and put it up in my store for sale just saying “Candy Land Tutu, $45”. On the site where I saw the original there was no copyright symbols or information to be found anywhere, I did change up a few things like the color of the lollipops the type of straps and color of accent circles on the dress. Would this be copyright infringement if she did have a copy right on the dress that I didn’t know about or could see?

Asked on August 26, 2011 Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A copyright infringement typically would pertain to the use of a song, book, music or something similar that is used for personal gain without the express authorization for its use by the person holding the copyright. The use of a tutu where you changed certain aspects of its design from the original one that you saw would seem to be more like a patent infringement assuming the item you altered was patented.

However, since you made a few additional changes from the item you used as a design for what you created for your own use, most likely you would not be running afoul of any registered patent that may apply to that tutu.

From what you have written, it does not appear that you engaged in any trademark infringement.

Good question.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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