Military Trademark Concerns in Your Silhouette Business

Welcome Christine as our guest blogger today!  She will be teaching “Cutting for Business” at the All Things Silhouette Conference — and is sharing some great information with us today!  I know you are going to find it helpful!  You will want to visit her blog & subscribe there, as well! 

Hi! I’m Christine from Cutting for Business. I blog about all things related to running a business or making money with your Silhouette. Terri graciously invited me to blog here to talk about using military logos or slogans in projects made with your Silhouette. Did you know that if you are selling something with a military logo, military name, or military insignia you must get a license to do so? Today, we are going to look at the trademark concerns and licensing requirements for†each of the five military branches.

What is trademarked?

The military branches collectively hold over 500 different trademarks on their logos, slogans, and names. It is safe for all Silhouette crafters to assume that any product they are selling with the name of a military branch or logo should be licensed. This includes phrases such as U.S. Army, U.S. Army, Semper Fidelis, A Few Good Men, Blue Angels, and many more. To find out if a specific phrase or mark is trademarked, head to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office TESS Search Engine online. This allows you to type in your phrase or mark to see if it is trademarked. If you locate a trademarked term you’d like to use, click on it and see what the trademark details are. It is possible that a phrase is trademarked on certain items (for example a phrase may be trademarked for use on†cups but not shirts).

A special note on insignias: If you are interested in obtaining a license on an official seal, you should know that official military seals cannot be used for any commercial purpose.

Branch Specific Information

Each branch of the military has different licensing requirements and contact information. The specifics of each branch make it difficult to provide comprehensive information, so the remainder of this post†will summarize the processes and give you links for more information.

U.S. Navy
  • Offers a thorough application available online through this link. The application asks for company information, banking information, business financials, and suggests proposed sample products. If your application is approved, you will then be sent the licensing application packet.
  • FAQ regarding the U.S. Navy licensing program are†located here.
U.S. Marine Corps
  • The USMC is the friendliest military branch in terms of licensing for crafters. They offer three different licensing programs: one for large businesses, one for small businesses, and one for hobbyists. This means that if your business makes less than $5,000 per year,†sells directly to your customers, and does not use an outside manufacturer, you do not have to file an application. Instead, you should fill out the Hobbyist License Agreement, pay a small fee ($25 or $50 depending on sales), and submit royalty information annually. After joining their program, you’ll receive a Hobbyist number which should be included in all of your listings. The Hobbyist number will actually make your listings more compelling, as it shows customers that you are official with the Marines and they approve your product!
  • If your sales are $5000.01 or more per year, you’ll need to fill out the licensing application for small business located here.
  • FAQ regarding the USMS licensing program are located at this link.
U.S. Air Force
  • The U.S. Air Force offers a lengthy application online which asks for company information, banking information, a business plan, and requires product samples.
  • The U.S. Air Force maintains a list of license holders on their website. If you are interested in U.S. Air Force images, read through the list to see if similar requests have been honored in the past.
  • FAQ regarding the U.S. Air Force licensing program can be found in this PDF; while the U.S. Air Force licensing site is located at this link.
U.S. Coast Guard
  • The U.S. Coast Guard offers a short 3 page application online that asks basic business information, your product plans and ideas, and ask for specific samples including product samples and brochures from your business.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard maintains a list of FAQ located at this link.
U.S. Army
  • The U.S. Army has a brand portal, which requires you to register before accessing, located at this link. The registration took about 24 hours to be approved by the U.S. Army web team. Information from within the portal answers questions about licensing, as well as strict brand requirements including which fonts can be used.

What if you don’t†want to get a license?

I know that all this licensing stuff isn’t nearly as exciting as creating and selling products with your Silhouette Cameo. However, it is important because if you use a trademarked design or slogan without permission, the trademark holder has the legal right to come after you or your small business for infringement. Infringements can lead to seizing of your products or machines or formal lawsuits. Please take the time to see if any part of your military designs are using trademarks without permission. If so, I urge you to get licensed or discontinue selling the product. Happy selling, Christine Schinagl, Blogger, cuttingforbusiness.com.

Licensing Concerns for Handmade Military Products with your Silhouette by cuttingforbusiness.com

Print Friendly

Trackbacks

  1. […] on trademarks and licensing in your Silhouette or Cricut small business. Today, I’m headed to Terri Johnson Creates to blog about military trademarks. Did you know that the military collectively holds more than 500 […]