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Trademarks: What Crafters Need to Know About NBA Licensing

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Basketball season is coming soon and I’ve gotten a few questions about making and selling basketball related products using your Silhouette or Cricut. Today, let’s take a look at NBA trademarks and licensing.

What is Trademarked to the NBA?

In a quick search of the TESS database, I found that the NBA holds over 1600 different trademarks. These trademarks range from team names to advertising slogans to logos and much, much more.

Can You Make and Sell NBA Related Products?

No, not without obtaining a license from the NBA. Wondering how crafters are selling NBA related products? They either have a license or they are doing so illegally.

Can Crafters Get a Hobby License?

Unfortunately for crafters, the NBA does not offer hobbyist or small business licensing. The NBA has many criteria required on their application. The specifics include:

  • Financial statements.
  • Business recommendations.
  • Distribution channel information.
  • Other licenses held by the company.
  • Manufacturing information.
  • Business plan for selling NBA products.
  • Sales catalogs.
  • Product samples.

If you’d like to view the entire NBA licensing application, click here.

Ideas for Creating Basketball Related Products for Sale

It’s probably pretty obvious that Silhouette and Cricut small business owners aren’t going to be able to get licensed to sell NBA products. But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t sell items geared towards your favorite team.

  • Use general sayings or designs. For example: words like “basketball”, a basketball design, the silhouette of a basketball player, or a basketball hoop design would be okay to use.
  • Do not use the team name or NBA names in your design, listing, or description.
  • Basketball related sayings like “Basketball Lover”, “Dribble All Day”, and “Eat, Sleep, Play Basketball” are all okay to use.
  • Basketball shaped monograms or swirly/embellished football designs are okay to use.
  • Using patterned or other printed vinyls can add interest to “boring” designs.

What Happens if You Sell NBA Products without a License?

If you don’t want to get licensed and still want to sell NBA products, you should know that if you are caught by the trademark holder (the NBA), your store or shop can be shut down. Additionally, you can be forced to pay back all monies made from the items, your supplies could be confiscated, and you can be prosecuted for trademark/copyright infringement. Unfortunately for small sellers, big corporations have far more resources to legally pursue you and you will not win the battle.

It’s also worth noting that NBA files that you might find on Etsy for sale with commercial use probably aren’t legal. Take a look at this post.

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