Essential Oil Business 101: Copyright and Trademarks

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The following information is primarily for Etsy shops and businesses that sell essential oil products. If you are pursuing the business side of an MLM like Young Living or Doterra, see the resources at the bottom of the page for rules around the usage of logos and company names.

 

Picture this. 

The excitement of starting a new business or creating products for essential oilers is REAL. I love it. An idea comes to you and you know it's THE one to really make a difference. 

You spend hours making it just perfect. 

You post it on social media and it's a success. You are seeing the orders come through and you pat yourself on the back. 

It could be a day, a week or even a year but you receive an email from the Young Living Conduct team. They are asking you to take down every single product you've created because you've conducted copyright infringement. And because Etsy is so transparent and state how many sales you've had, they sue you $5 per sale, asking over $10,000. 

 

And then you wake up from a dream and you're so happy you read my blog post! :)

 

We don't want that to happen to your shop. You must be aware of copyright and trademark laws. 

When something is "under copyright" it means it is protected and owned by someone else. Most brand logos are under copyright. Both Young Living and Doterra logos are under copyright meaning you cannot sell anything with their logo or the name. 

At all. 

No ifs, ands or buts. 

When something is "trademarked" it means it is protected within its industry or "trade". For example, Thieves is trademarked by Young Living in the essential oil industry. 

You cannot have "Thieves" on your essential oil blend cards. 

At all. 

No ifs, ands or buts. 

But, if you were a car manufacturer and you wanted to name your new SUV "Thieves", that would be okay because it's a different industry or "trade". 

 

Young Living Thieves Essential Oil SAMPLE | EtsyHow do you know what is under copyright or trademark?

The easiest way is to look at the product you are questioning. If it's under trademark or copyright it will have one of these symbols next to it. 

TM or R are Trademarks and Registered Trademarks

© is the Copyright symbol.

See the little circle to the right of the S in Thieves. That's to notify you that it is protected and cannot be on any sold product. 

There are many oils that you can add to your blend cards. Oils like "Lemon", "Oregano" and "Lavender". But any special blend names, programs or special titles are not allowed to be used without a special licensing agreement from the company. 

 

 

 

But other shops are doing it?

It's the old tale of, if your friend jumps off a cliff... will you follow?

Just because someone else is doing it, doesn't mean it's legal. 

Of course, it's up to you to decide what to do. But in my professional experience, it will happen at some point. You will be asked to take your listings down or worse, you'll be sued. 

 

Set your business up for success and follow the law. 

 

Resources

Search the trademark database here

Young Living Policies and Procedures (see page 13)

Doterra Policy Manual (see page 22)

 

 

 

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Copyright and Trademark Rules for Essential Oil Businesses