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Copyrighted and Trademarked Logos, Slogans, & Images

Copyrighted and Trademarked Logos, Slogans, & Images

What is Copyright and Trademark?

Copyrights protect creative works like dramatical, literary, musical, artistic works.

Trademarks protect Brand Names, Phrases and Logos

So What Does This Mean to Me?

Are you and your friends dreaming up a design to print on t-shirts, tote bags, or caps to wear to your next outing together? Maybe it’s a trip to Disney, a concert, or your favorite sporting team’s next big game. Coming up with a design for your apparel can be exciting, but there’s a few things you need to know before you add what may be considered “protected imagery” to your screen printed or embroidered apparel.

Everyone is obligated to follow all copyright laws, and we absolutely abide by those laws here at American Tees. We’re happy to print your order containing protected material after we receive proof of the appropriate permissions from the owner or trademark holder. It is the customer’s responsibility to request permission from the owner to use the image(s) and send it to us prior to beginning the order.  

You can request to use images in your design that are protected by copyright or trademark by contacting the licensing department or management team of the brand, company, or sports team whose protected imagery you’re interested in using. Prior approval will be required for American Tees to create orders containing any protected images for:

  • Disney
  • Some Sports Teams
  • Colleges
  • Bands/Musicians
  • Brand Logos
  • Celebrities
  • TV Shows/Movies
  • Fraternities & Sororities

How do you know if an image you want to use is copyrighted or trademarked? It’s pretty simple. If you didn’t create it, then it’s safe to say it’s the property of someone else and you need permission to use it on your apparel. If you have the required written permission to use your preferred protected imagery in your design, please submit it to us at

Did you already have your design ready to print prior to reading this article but realized you don’t have the permission needed to print it? Don’t worry! Our talented graphic designers are happy to help you alter your design while keeping your ideas in mind to come up with a design you love to use on your screen printed or embroidered apparel! Typically a percentage of 10-30% is discussed when talking of altering a trademarked logo or design so that it no longer qualifies as copyright/trademark infringement. However, that isn’t necessarily a safe bet.  Depending on what you change and how you change it matters.  No design in mind? That’s okay, too! We’re ready to assist you in the creative process that leads to your perfect design! 

If you would like more information on trademarks or copyrights, we would love to give you the information!  Click the links below to conduct a search of things that are protected by copyright or trademark. 

U.S. Copyright Database:

U.S. Trademark Database:

I would like to copyright/trademark my logo, slogan, or design

If you have a logo that you would like to trademark, you must go through the process on your own to submit that information for the copyright registration.  We are not liable to keep your design or logo safe or sacred without those legal documents.  We also do not copyright or trademark any designs we create for you and you are welcomed to take designs and logos we create for you to register them yourself.  Once we design them for you, they are considered your logos, however, as stated we are not required to keep those logos confidential, or keep from re-using them or portions of them for other clients. 

To start the process of trademarking your logo:

Log in to the

Please note that the average time it takes to do this is between 1 and 2 years. This is not a quick and easy process as there has to be intricate procedures and research to follow through with this process to ensure your information can be trademarked and isn’t already taken.

After reading through the information and details it is time to submit your application and pay your registration fee to begin the process!

If you have any further questions regarding images protected by copyright and trademark please email us at or call us at 918-288-6682 to speak directly to a member of our team. Do you have a design ready to go that doesn’t contain protected imagery and you need pricing information? Request a quote to receive all of the details before you place an order with no pressure to buy! 

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