What would I need to do to protect a marbleized pattern? Example: I have three swatches of fabric, one fabric is marbleized with orange and yellow patterns, fabric 2 is marbleized with green and blue patterns, and fabric 3 is marbleized with purple and lavender patterns. I would like to use these 3 fabrics individually as spring color selections. However, even though I will use the same color combinations each time, the pattern will never be exactly the same. Can I still protect my design?

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All artwork is copyrighted to the artist or his/her employer the moment it's created. You don't technically need to do anything to have a copyright. Merely being able to prove the dates of your file creation can often be sufficient.

If you wish to register a copyright, you can via www.copyright.gov (at least in the United States.) Registration is not mandatory, but it can be exceptionally helpful should disputes arise at a later date.

Be aware, even a copyright won't protect the artwork from being stolen or reused. The copyright merely gives you formal ground to file a legal claim. The expense and time necessary to follow up on legal claims can be extraordinary. This is where registering your copyright can be helpful.

In terms of color or color combinations.. you can't copyright a color or a color combination. You may be able to file for a registered trademark. However, a trademark is not any sort of protection whatsoever. Trademarks are not copyrights. Trademarks serve to reduce brand confusion within a given industry. You can sue someone for potentially using your trademarked designs/artwork to defraud customers and falsely present their operations as your own.... but again, the legal pursuit can be time consuming and costly.

--> The difference between Trademark and Copyright

Also be aware, trademarks can only be registered after a period of use. You have to prove you have a claim to that identity within a given industry over a length of time before registration is granted.

And of course, if you don't want something stolen never put it online.

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