View Full Version : T-shirt design for a school robotics team

Feb 10, 2006, 05:06 PM
I am on a robotics team with the school with affiliation with FIRST (http://www.usfirst.org/robotics/). Our team name is NIRD, which is an acronym. I designed a shirt for the team as a parody of the design from an old NERD candy box.

Any idea about the legality of using a parody of a NERDS box design on a t-shirt that will be worn by a team?
(first one is the design I made, second is an actual nerd candies box)

Feb 10, 2006, 05:17 PM
Companies will send out C&D letters for anything, sensible or not, example: http://www.moronsalt.com/article_short.htm

But you're just making these for the team, and not selling them? I wouldn't lose sleep over it.

Feb 10, 2006, 05:23 PM
I emailed Nestle on the subject, and I got a reply with an address that I need to mail my letter to via snail mail!!!!!

I need to order these shirts like yesterday, so I just wonder if anyone knows if it is illegal to purchase these as a team shirt.

Feb 10, 2006, 05:32 PM
Just my opinion, but i think a HS robotics is most likely under the radar of Nestle. My fraternity did a spoof on the Barqs rootbeer can and had no problems. Just dont sell the shirts for profilt like iMeowbot said.

Nice design too, btw.

Feb 10, 2006, 08:47 PM
thats awesome lol.. im in robotics class too.. btw, what type of robots you making?? Were doing desktop navs, collision avoidance, line followers, and dance.. incorporated into one robot..

Feb 10, 2006, 09:33 PM
The firm I share space with (and do a lot of work with) designed that Wonka logo and some of the packaging, maybe even that one. Check it out


I have no idea about the full legality of that but I very sure the design firm (the head guy is a close friend) and pretty sure Nestle would not sue you over a design take off on a non profit team shirt. If you were using their exact design and selling the shirts world wide you would have something to worry about.

Feb 10, 2006, 09:57 PM
Thanks for the compliments on the design. I think I will go ahead with ordering them. I am going to get them from Zazzle (https://www.zazzle.com/). They use ink instead of silk screening, so it is only $15 per shirt with as much and as many colors on there as I want.
Anyone know anything about Zazzle? I think I heard about them on the news, but I can't remember.

Feb 10, 2006, 10:28 PM
cool shirt

Feb 12, 2006, 08:51 PM
Cool shirt. I recently talked to a t-shirt making place that I live across the street from and the word from them is as long as it's small scale and you're not selling them, even just straight copyright infringement isn't really a big deal. So I really wouldn't worry about that at all.

Feb 13, 2006, 02:17 PM
Ironic, I'm on a FIRST team as well! Only made more ironic because in this thread (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=179797), the "graphic" I mention is my teams shirt logo!

Actually, I'm headed back to school in a little bit to work on it (we're staying everyday this week until 9PM) with the team. Fun stuff, and it's amazing to see how things come along. I've been involved in robotics competitions for almost 4 years now. First I did BotBall in middle school, last year we did the SavageSoccer Vex kits, and this year, we did Vex and now FIRST.

Feb 13, 2006, 02:21 PM
My thinking is that your shirt is a parody of an original work and that falls under fair use (i.e. the same way Weird Al can write songs that sound a lot like the original artists' work).

Feb 13, 2006, 02:29 PM
My thinking is that your shirt is a parody of an original work and that falls under fair use (i.e. the same way Weird Al can write songs that sound a lot like the original artists' work).
That's a copyright thing. Nerds is a trademark.

Feb 13, 2006, 03:59 PM
That's a copyright thing. Nerds is a trademark.

Hmm, you're right.

I found this, which may (or may not) offer some insights to the original poster regarding what is considered appropriate when parodying a trademark:


Feb 13, 2006, 04:18 PM
That article scares me.
My brother is going to talk to some people he knows, and then I have to take it up with the school weirdo (I mean computer guy).

Feb 15, 2006, 05:07 PM
I talked to him, and he was undecisive, he said he wouldn't say that I couldn't use it...
So I am going to use it.

Feb 15, 2006, 06:41 PM
I don't think you'll have a problem. You didn't alter the original logo, you reconstructed something similar (REALLY similar)... and besides, you aren't profiting from it, or defaming the product or Nestle. If I worked for Nestle, I'd just find it cool :)

Feb 15, 2006, 06:48 PM
Vader, look at this another way, it's really bad press for a big company like that to go around suing 17 year olds over a team shirt. If they were going to that, they would have to have a very very good reason. I would not worry about it.

Feb 16, 2006, 09:01 AM
Are you doing the full FIRST program, or are you doing VEX?

Feb 16, 2006, 10:21 PM
Full out FIRST robotics, like a real robot, 120 lbs of metal and whatnot.
It is our schools first year in it, and my first time doing anything more than playing with LEGO Mindstorms at my house.

Feb 16, 2006, 10:28 PM
My thinking is that your shirt is a parody of an original work and that falls under fair use (i.e. the same way Weird Al can write songs that sound a lot like the original artists' work).
Umm... Wierd Al clears publishing on all of his parody songs before releasing them, not a good example.

Feb 16, 2006, 11:00 PM
Print away my friend, its all good.

it's a close comparison, but not close enough to sweat about....

Feb 17, 2006, 03:13 AM
really nice design! Go ahead, dont worry :D