Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

I was asked to make a Minnie Mouse theme cake.   I was wondering if I would get in trouble for using these trademark characters from Disney.   It will be obvious that the theme is based on Minnie Mouse if I use red with white dots and black round shape with ears, and adding a red or pink bow.

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I agree with everyone.  Stay away from copyright infringement.  Especially Disney related characters--Even when it comes to similar likeness (say you were to change a minor color or detail and do say "cartoon mouse") Here's a little story--I live in central florida and even worked for the rat when I was younger.  It wasn't a cake, but there was a birthday/special event costume business in the Kissimmee area that had a costume called "Orange Tiger"--guess which that one was.  Disney sued, and even though it wasn't a direct copy, they won--they have the money to pursue you and win.

And pretty much every wilton character pan I have with the exception of some older vintage ones say in the stamp in the aluminum "For Home Use Only"

You absolutely can get in trouble for re creating trademark or copy written stuff on a cake and selling it.  This goes for disney, video games, sports team logos, anything!  Disney and Major League Baseball are the worst and both employ "hunters" who go around looking for people to sue.  I tell all my customers that I prefer to used officially licensed merchandise of some kind for their cake.  It doesn't have to be something designed as a cake topper, anthing that can be sanitized works.  Bath squeezies, bobble heads, action figures, be creative.  As for Disney, there are a ton of edible lay on's available out there.  My next go to move in these situations is to offer generic cartoon mouse number one or the like...  

 

 

The problem is and the reason why Disney goes after copyright infringement so hard is because if they don't actively protect their trademarks and copyrights they lose them.  You can only do licensed characters for educational or if you give the cakes away you are not allowed to sell them.  I am a professional in store decorator and it's not only Disney and you don't have to be in a large city to get caught.  I would suggest setting up an account with Decopac if you have a home cake business and using the kits.  You can also do something similar like racecars similar to the NASCAR cars but don't exactly duplicate it.  With the Disney characters its almost impossible to do that though because they are so identifible.  You also are not allowed to copy images that are on party plates and napkins.  If you are really creative you can satisfy your customers with out putting yourself and business at risk for some very very hefty fines.  Another thing...you are not allowed to rent out your licensed character pans for use either.
If you look in the clay aisle there are books to make figures.  Many Many craft books including painting books also...if you look inside the cover it will state in there that you may use the figures you create for commercial use especially if you are really only making enough money to basically cover your expenses with a bit of profit.  There are tons of great ideas in these books and most include the patterns.

Sweet Cakery (Midori) said:
How do you find characters are licensed or not?
I work in a bakery and we get requests for licenced characters ALL THE TIME. If at all possible we steer clear of replicating them ourselves, but use the toys and edible images and things, but I don't think we are in any real danger of getting in trouble. I have been told (it may not be true) that the bigger the store is, the more you have to be careful. I work in a very small family owned bakery so the chances of us being hit are slim, and I've heard its not worth it to them unless you are a huge company and crossing state borders or something with multiple locations. I've also heard they will send a cease and desist letter first, so until then I wouldn't freak out too much... I know its probably bad but I've done everything from mario brothers and Dr seuss to minnie and mickey and the muppets... the demand is just so high!
Hi Terry, thank you for your input.   I know the demand is there and we'll have to be careful.   I will use toys and all the suggestions I received here.   Thank you.
Good answer Eileen, love the second paragraph.
Thanks, Denette. ;)

denette lynch said:
Good answer Eileen, love the second paragraph.

Copyright is a tough one, I've seen so many people selling character cakes that it's really hard to know where the line is and when you should say no to a customer. I was just reading a blog:

http://blog.bakingit.com/top-reasons-to-turn-down-a-cake-order.

copyright is one of their reasons to turn down the order. I like their advice of buying a licensed edible image or topper as this is a good way around it. But as far as making a character cake to depict the character itself, I now have to say no and explain the reasons. Hopefully they will be happy to work with you using a licensed product.

Utilizing someone else's outline without their authorization dangers encroaching their protected innovation rights, including their copyrights, trademark rights, and identity rights. Even a little change damage these rights. Utilization of these trademark outlines in the home or as a present for a companion is substantially more solid as reasonable use. For functional purposes, the rights proprietors aren't going to think about such utilize – or even give it a second thought. They are a great deal more worried with across the board use in the open for a benefit. On the off chance that the nearby dough puncher makes any copyright character for cake adornment and something happens to the client in view of it then they would imagine that the organization is to be blamed. In addition, Its preferable to take consent over taking.
On the off chance that you need to improve benefit its to do a careful overview on this matter. Indeed, even I have seen numerous bakers utilizing these trademark characters for cake decoration. Be that as it may, some best restaurant dessert suppliers opposed to replicating they as a rule make their own particular characters and finish the cake in more custom way according to their customer's wish.

You can refer this website for reference - cakeswebake.com/forum/topics/can-i-use-these-trademark?id=4635016%3ATopic%3A514717&page=2#comments

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