Trademarks on Fabric – What You Need to Know

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Several Cutting for Business readers have asked about trademarks on fabric. Luckily for crafters, trademarks are pretty cut and dry on fabric.

You should assume that all fabric with cartoon characters, sports teams, and major brands are licensed fabrics for personal use only. This means that you cannot sell items made with the fabric. You can verify this by looking at the selvage side of the fabric. If there are licensing terms, they will be printed there. The messages may differ slightly, but most read, “Sold for noncommercial home use only.” If ordering online, the product description should note whether or not the fabric is licensed only for personal use.

It’s just that easy!

Need a refresher on licensing for fonts and designs? Head to this post.

Trademark information on selvage examples:

Trademarks on Fabric - What You Need to Know - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Trademarks on Fabric - What You Need to Know - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Trademarks on Fabric - What You Need to Know - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Trademarks on Fabric - What You Need to Know - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Trademarks on Fabric - What You Need to Know - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Trademarks on Fabric - What You Need to Know - by cuttingforbusiness.com

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Trademarks on Fabric - What You Need to Know - by cuttingforbusiness.com

2 thoughts on “Trademarks on Fabric – What You Need to Know”

  1. I’ve read that although copyrighted fabrics say non commercial use, the buyer is protected under the first sale doctrine as long as the fabric is not reproduced to do with it as they please? Do you have any insight on this matter?

    1. Yes. There have historically been cases where judges have ruled in favor of crafters regarding first sale doctrine. If you are confident and have the funds to fight against a large corporation in court – feel free to use the fabrics for commercial use. Personally, I err on the side of caution.

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