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Nuts & Bolts – Vehicle Trade Dress Edits

March 6, 2020

Nuts & Bolts – Vehicle Trade Dress Edits
One of the many things that card reviewers look for is Intellectual Property.  One piece of IP is trademarks.  In particular, vehicles like cars, motorcycles and others.  Not only can the make and model names not be used in card metadata, but also defining emblems, body lines, and telltale shapes. This falls into the legal protection of Trade Dress.


GCU has set the guide for vehicles that are not considered “antiques’ (read 1920s and 1930s) to be rendered generic, partial, and/or abstract in nature.


Here is an excellent recent example of artist, Alda Monteschio of Heart Tugs, modifying what originally looked to be a VW Bus to a more generic vehicle which passes review.


Original Card:


Reviewer request:
MARKETABILITY – Intellectual Property – Volkswagen
See the GCU Blog for explanation & examples:


Elements of this image infringe on copyrighted, trademarked and licensed materials. Specifically, cards that contain references to or images of Volkswagen vehicles cannot be sold on Greeting Card Universe. This includes the manufacturer’s trade dress rights which bars the use of any silhouette, picture, caricature, or reproduction of the shape or appearance of the manufacturer’s vehicle.Car image cards must be abstract or partial in nature so even the defining body lines and profile can not be identified. This is due to Trade Dress laws. Antique/Vintage cars of the 20s and 30s will be considered with a softer eye ie: Model-T but still must not contain any logos, emblems, make & model names.

Note: The split windshield was an identifiable feature of the VW van. Please remove that feature.  Additionally, the text is too soft to print well as it lacks clarity. Please adjust.


Resulting Card:


Thank you, Alda for the great edits resulting in a card that is ready to take the high road!


The difference is made in the details!


GCU Community Manager
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