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smcheabears Hampton, VA
Posts: 9

HI everyone,
         
I was wondering if I need to do something before I start selling my bears, in terms of legal things? Do i need a license or something?? I know i need to keep track of what I buy(supplies) and what i sell(finished products), but do i need to call someone or have a copyright or license before i can sell, or do i just post it and sell it???? Please help  bear_original

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,991
Website

Hi Shannon. Here in the US, you don't need a license to sell your bears. Your only obligation is to pay taxes - sales tax to your state and income tax to the IRS.

If you want to, you can use the abbreviation TM after your business name, which is not the same as a registered trademark , but it's free and it means you claim the name as yours. And any design you create, or any of your images etc, can carry the copyright symbol to indicate the same thing (you're saying it's legally yours).

I hope this helps bear_original
Becky

Plum Cottage Bears Plum Cottage Bears
Long Beach, CA
Posts: 2,151

Plum Cottage Bears Cute Animal Ambassador

I am resuming my bear business.   Thanks for the clarification about trademark and copyright symbols.  I live in a large city south of Los Angeles.  The city (Long Beach, California) now requires a home crafts business license of people who work from home and make crafts to sell, like quilts, bears, etc.  The license is close to $200.00.  Beyond that, from what I have found out from the Board of Equalization in California, I have to have a business license to get a resale number.  I will follow the local rules, but it just seems like one more way for a city to try to bring in revenue.

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website

My husband and I both work from home.  We have limited liability cooperation.  But if you are on your own you can get a sole proprietorship license through the state.  With a business license you must pay taxes on your bear earnings, but in return you can deduct all of your bear making expenses. 

Joanne

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,991
Website
Gail wrote:

The city (Long Beach, California) now requires a home crafts business license

Welcome back, and thanks for sharing this. I had no idea that a city might do this.

And per Joanne's info, this must vary from state to state as well. My husband and I are both self-employed, and we pay taxes on our sole proprieterships, but we don't have any kind of business license (maybe because we mostly sell services, not goods?).

So Shannon, let us know what else you find out, and good luck with your new business!

Becky

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website
dangerbears wrote:
Gail wrote:

The city (Long Beach, California) now requires a home crafts business license

Welcome back, and thanks for sharing this. I had no idea that a city might do this.

And per Joanne's info, this must vary from state to state as well. My husband and I are both self-employed, and we pay taxes on our sole proprieterships, but we don't have any kind of business license (maybe because we mostly sell services, not goods?).

So Shannon, let us know what else you find out, and good luck with your new business!

Becky

You are right Becky.  We pay taxes on our business, but the only license is the state tax license.

Joanne

smcheabears Hampton, VA
Posts: 9

Thanks everyone. I will contact someone to see if I need it in the state I'm in. Ill let you all know what I find, if I find out anything. Again thanks bear_original

lulubears Posts: 280

I would check with the state tax office to find out if you need to register your name.  I would imagine that you would have to have a sales tax number, as you will have to pay state sales tax on your sales of bears, as well as claiming the income on your federal return.

As for the use of the TM symbol, Becky is right, BUT - you should probably do a little research and make sure no one else is using the same business name.  It would be best to use something VERY different rather than something generic.  I've been down the trademark trail, and it can be costly, lengthy and very legally entangling.  I don't want to scare you, but rather, give you a heads up.  Here, in part, is some info from the US Patent and Trademark office:

"Anyone who claims rights in a mark may use the TM (trademark) or SM (service mark) designation with the mark to alert the public to the claim.  It is not necessary to have a registration or even a pending application, to use these designations.  The claim may or may not be valid."  Basically, if someone else is using the same name and decides to register it with the USPTO, you may lose the right to use it even if you have been using the TM mark.

Additionally, I would strongly recommend doing some research to see if anyone else is using the same name you want to use.  Use Google, Facebook, Etsy, etc., and you will probably to be able to very quickly determine if you and someone else are using the same name.  If you are, but neither of you registers it with a trademark, but then later decide to, I would take this info from the USPTO into consideration:

"There are two related but distinct types of rights in a mark:  the right to register and the right to use.  Generally, the first party who either uses a mark in commerce or files an application in the PTO has the ultimate right to register that mark.  The PTO's authority is limited to determining the right to register.  The right to use a mark can be more complicated to determine.  This is particularly true when two parties have begun use of the same or similar marks without knowledge of one another and neither has a federal registration.  Only a court can render a decision about the right to use, such as issuing an injunction or awarding damages for infringement.  It should be noted that a federal registration can provide significant advantages to a party involved in a court proceeding...."

Thankfully, I kept records of the first use of my business name, and could prove it with dated sales receipts, the ordering of business cards, the purchase of the domain name, registration on e-Bay, etc. 

Best of luck in your venture.  The bear world can be a very rewarding adventure.

Luann

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