I sell the hats I make.
I often get requests for things like Hello Kitty, Minions, Disney, NFL logos, etc. and I always have to respond that I am not able to sell trademarked items.
No one is supposed to be selling them... unless they have purchased a license. To sell Hello Kitty you need to have a license from Hello Kitty. To sell Disney you need to have a license from Disney. Etc.
I do not have a license to sell any of these things and therefore it is illegal and unethical to do so.
Could I get away with it?
Do lots of other people sell them without a license?
But that doesn't make it right.
If I choose to illegally sell these items I could get fined or lose my business. It's not worth it.
So there is the legal side of it all but there is something even deeper that keeps me from going the illegal route and that is my kids.
I am always telling them that we do what's right... all the time... even when it's really hard... even when no one else is doing what's right. They watch me do my business. I can use this as a way to teach them integrity... or I can let my actions show them that we don't ALWAYS do what's right... just sometimes.
I'm choosing the high road and I know that I've lost some business because of it. When I tell people I can't sell those items they go and find them somewhere else. Perhaps that somewhere else has a license and perhaps they don't. I just want to encourage you that if you are purchasing any trademarked characters online to make sure you find licensed sellers. Don't participate in illegal activity and don't let ignorance be your way to a clear conscience.
PS... changing the name but not the look or saying "inspired by" still doesn't make it right. :)