– Keep a record of everything you send out – what to who and when.
– Never assume. In our experience (and we get knocked off regularly) most domestic corporate infringements occur at a low level and many are mistakes, so before leveling accusations start from a position of compromise – try to turn the infringer into a customer and execute a contract with back royalties.
– ALWAYS act on infringers, starting with “friendly” contact and escalating as necessary. If you can’t get to agreement, consider working with an attorney to put together a minimal cost cease and desist letter.
– The majority of art licensing infringements will not merit the cost of litigation since you are likely dealing with royalties in the hundreds or a few thousand range. Make a business decision, not an emotional one, about whether you should pursue legal action. Get used to the idea that sometimes you will just have to walk away. Yes, it sucks.
– Think very carefully before crowdshaming, it can work but it can also leave you open to serious liability, and you cannot shame a real crook because they just don’t care (or overseas factories when you can’t figure out who they are).
– Be unique, because being the first to market with a signature look is the cheapest protection you can get.
Please note: I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. The plan here is to explain some concepts in real life terms, NOT to give legal advice or to argue the finer points with some PO’d attorney who is now fuming after reading this… even though that may be kinda fun.