If you have ideas for unique plush toys, it’s okay to do everything you can to protect them. Stuffed animals are very profitable and if you don’t cover all the bases to protect your ideas, “enterprising” individuals will take advantage of them. They will do it “legally” because you did not do things to protect them legally. The last thing a toy inventor would want is to see his cute stuffed animals displayed somewhere and he is not the legal owner of them.

There are three things you can ask for to protect your stuffed toy ideas: copyright, trademark, and patent. So what can you personally do to protect them? Here are the things you can do to protect the copyrights, trademarks, and patents of your unique plush toys:

o Copyright

Copyrights protect the overall appearance of your toy. For stuffed animals, protect their “cuteness”. It will protect the appearance of the face, the proportion of the body and the tastes. The characteristics of the toys are probably the most important factor to protect, since they are the most obvious and their selling point. Copyright is automatic: the moment you put your idea on paper or even on a napkin at your neighborhood deli, it is legally protected by copyright. However, it is best if you can document it to make it easier to enforce. How do you document it? Many people believe that mailing themselves a copy of their idea is the way to go. Unfortunately it doesn’t work. The best way to protect your stuffed toy ideas is to write down all relevant information that shows that you are the owner of the idea. A notebook would do. Just make a note of all your ideas and when you thought of them. You can add additional information about how you came up with the idea and where you thought about it. To further enforce, take notes from all witnesses. As in any legal proceeding, witnesses can win your “case” for you.

o Trademarks

Trademarks protect the names and logos of your toys. Basically, the brand of your toys is protected. Your unique stuffed animal should have distinctive names so you can do things to protect it. An example of a trademark is the name Barbie. No one can use Barbie as a name because it will violate their trademarks. This is a bit expensive and not all toys need to be covered by it. The best way is to seek legal advice from an attorney to see if it makes sense to apply for trademarks in your own case.

o Patent

This is the most expensive of the three. Besides being expensive, it is also the hardest to get. As the inventor of cute stuffed toys, it’s good to know that you probably won’t need them. But like trademarks, it is best to seek legal advice from an attorney.

So check what applies to your stuffed animals to find out how you can protect them. It will be one of the best things you’ve ever done as a toy inventor.