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Advice: Plushies

Hello all!

This time I am not posting bad news but looking for advice from the plush makers in the community.

I have been making plushies for friends and family for a little while and feel I am getting confident enough to start trying to sell them. Now I am not going to be doing custom pieces, but just already made items.

Now my question is that I am planning on making some dragon plushes, but the design is inspired by the Beanie Babie dragons (rounded nose, brontosaurus body, felt toes, etc). I am making my own pattern but I didn't know if theses similarities would get me into trouble?

I wouldn't be using the same colors or selling them as Beanie Babies, but I just want to be sure.

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Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
slyminera
Jan. 30th, 2015 02:27 am (UTC)
Came across this handy dandy article for you:
http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml

I think since they'd just be inspired by and not exact copies of the Beanie Baby dragons, it would be totally fine.
adzuki
Jan. 30th, 2015 02:31 am (UTC)
Oh wow! That's super helpful! Thank you!
intj_reflection
Jan. 30th, 2015 04:10 am (UTC)
This particular article references a different type of pattern than the ones that adzuki is referring to. These are specifically clothing patterns. Copyright law has made very strong points about being unable to copyright useful items, ie clothing, that plush toys does not necessarily fall under.
epiceternity
Jan. 30th, 2015 09:11 am (UTC)
While an interesting article, it refers to clothing, not soft toy patterns. Clothing is considered 'utilitarian' so generally not allowed to be copyrighted. Soft toys and plushies however are not clothing so this rule does not apply to them.

(Sorry, something of a personal bugbear as every time someone wants to say it's okay to exactly copy/rip a plushie pattern the 'clothes aren't copyrighted so plushie must not be either' argument is used, even though they have nothing to do with each other)

That said, you should be fine making plushies in a similar style as long as you're not copying their exact pattern. As long as there's a certain amount of dissimilarity (i.e 605% difference) then it shouldn't be a problem.
epiceternity
Jan. 30th, 2015 09:13 am (UTC)
Sorry, that should have been 60% there!
intj_reflection
Jan. 30th, 2015 04:17 am (UTC)
As far as I've been able to determine from a search of the US Patent and Trademark office website: TY maintains trademarks on a myriad of brand names, logos, images and similar, but I haven't found any design patents on the plushes themselves.
animecat
Jan. 30th, 2015 04:57 pm (UTC)
As a fellow plush maker, I can tell you that there are only so many ways to make a plushie, so as long as your finished product to not exactly resemble the Ty lines, you should be fine.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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