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I'm being knocked off!


#1

well, it’s happened. a company took one of my castings and actually
molded it with my logo on the back. It looks like a big production
company. It would be one thing if they recarved my piece, but the
fact that they just molded it really has me pissed. (slightly
flattered, yes, but also pissed off!) I want to figure out if it’s
even worth it financially to pursue them. My logo is on the back of
the molded piece.

Any suggestions on how to pursue this, recommendations on lawyers,
etc… would be really helpful.

thanks,
amery
www.amerycarriere.com


#2

Forget it and move on! Unless it was the most extraordinary design on
the planet or they ripped off an entire body of work You shouldn’t
waste Your time worrying about it. If You’re creative there are more
ideas where that came from. Nothings really new & You’ll just end up
putting money in some lawyers pocket. It’s happened to me as well &
its annoying but not uncommon. They can’t jump into Your head so be
happy You can continue to create new stuff !

Mary


#3

Amery,

Recently a fellow jeweler had their buckles knocked off by Donald
Pliner (large shoe manufacturer) by putting the buckles on shoes,
bags, and belts. My friend just called up the CEO and demanded that
they remove all products from the shelves that contained his
original design. This artist has been in the industry for over 35
years and had accounts that could verify that this was in fact his
design. It was a blatant knockoff - they did remove his logo,
though…

Anyway, there were no lawyers involved and the company cooperated by
immediately removing the items from their website, providing the
artist the original mold of the buckle, as well as shipping them all
products made for production. DL also calculated a percentage of
sales made on the finished products and awarded them about $25,000
in damages to my friend. Now, they could have possibly demanded or
been awarded more with the assistance of a lawyer, but we know what
that takes… time and money!

I’m sorry to hear this happen to you and I hope you receive
compensation for your original design.

Reba


#4

Amery,

Where do you live ? that will help in recommending a lawyer as you do
need one. Begin by gathering all you can on the company
stealing your design(s) and logo. Contact the attorney general in
your state and advise them of the fraud being perpetrated in your
community and as far reaching as their sales are - the attorney
general has the power to suspend the sales of , at least, your
property, until the matter is heard in a court of law… get pictures
of the materials being sold by them, the places it is being sold, and
how they are advertising it. Don’t contact them unless you’re ready
to act and have all your proverbial ducks-in-a-row otherwise they may
stop production and its a case of your word against theirs. If you
can find any buyers that are buying your design collect that
too, and if they are selling it online on auction sites,
advise the auction sites that they are fraudulently selling your
intellectual property and jewelry designs and ask if they will
intervene by ordering that seller to cease and desist in selling your
product pending litigation…If you have any more questions feel free
to contact me off list, and I’ll answer within a day as I have many
things to handle today so it may take longer than a few hours.
meantime, you should contact anyone buying the copies and advise them
that they are accomplices in the matter and ask that they remove the
inventory from their stores and return it to the seller, or to you as
evidence. Bottom line, if you want to stop the sale of your designs
immediately you are tipping your hand until you arrange counsel to
take the case. You can take measures to stop production either
directly or with intervention of the district attorney or attorney
general in your state- as that’s pretty effective and makes the
fraudulent producer take notice that there is litigation coming
swiftly. Otherwise call the producer and arrange a face-to-face
meeting and present your demands at that time, including profits that
they have made from the sales of your designs, and arrange for a use
of your line if you wish, or out-of-court settlement…You must be
armed though with sales figures, and places and dates that they began
selling your product to have a starting point for negotiating either
a payment of the profits made from your work, or a mutually
acceptable contract for their using and reproducing your design. RER


#5

better to be knocked off by a big company than a small company. that
way there is something to go after financially. a small company can
simply dissappear, and has a smaller liquidation value than a large
one

Mark Zirinsky
denver


#6

Hey Amery if you registered the copyright you are entitled to
punitive damages, if not you can at least get them to cease and
decist, another possibility is that you could license the design to
them; the company I worked for did that with Avon, but if they ripped
you off once? If it is a really big company a attorney might get
involved if they think there is or will be the potential for future
settlement. You will have to be able to prove that it is your design
but the stamp makes that pretty clear you will also need to get a
couple of copies of the knock off.

Good luck… Frankenstein


#7

That sucks, Amery. There’s nothing worse than being stolen from. I
have clients who have had very similar problems and the threat of
litigation is usually enough to stop it. Once attorneys get involved
the ante is obviously raised as their services do not come cheap.
That doesn’t stop you from wanting to inflict financial, or other,
pain on the transgressor, I know. If you want to keep it inexpensive
but threatening you could always send a Cease & Desist Letter using a
template from a site such as lawdepot.com.

I suspect it is very difficult to protect yourself from petty design
thieves but if a company goes into production with your piece, that
is a different matter. If monetary compensation appears unrealistic
I would look for a letter of apology in the least.

I once had a client send in a wax to be cast that was way too close
to one of my oldest customer’s best selling and heavily copyrighted
designs. The offending client I also happened to know very well as an
honest, middle of the food chain manufacturer and he disavowed any
knowledge of the copied design as it was his customer’s wax. For what
it’s worth I believe he did the right thing and rejected the job but
there is no way to be certain.

Good luck with your problem.

Jason
Casting House


#8
Contact the attorney general in your state and advise them of the
fraud being perpetrated in your community and as far reaching as
their sales are - the attorney general has the power to suspend the
sales of, at least, your property, until the matter is heard in a
court of law.. 

Wow I think this is over kill! You must be joking?! <> What exactly
did they rip off? The secrets to the universe? Common folks! This is
just jewelry! get over it!

M R


#9
if you registered the copyright you are entitled to punitive
damages, if not you can at least get them to cease and decist, 

If this is in the US, registration is not required for the
protection of copyright. In order to file for damages, you have to
register. You can still do that after the infringement violation has
occurred, but in that case, you can only recover actual damages and
profits – which could be significant!

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html


#10
if you registered the copyright you are entitled to punitive
damages, 

Actually no registration is necessary. Copyright exists from the
time the design is created.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
www.spirerjewelers.com


#11

The thing is though it might not be “the secret of the universe”, it
is not theirs to sell, and that is theft. End of story.

So now what to do about it? I think contacting the AG of your state
is a good first step, over here in Australia a good first step would
be to contact the federal police, I have done this once before quite
some years ago now. Was it worth the agro and hassles? At the time
no, now yes.

Might seem a bit of a weird answer, but I was at uni back then at it
took quite a bit of time (not to mention money!) out of my studies to
do this, and it wasn’t over anything that would have made me or the
infringer much money in the long run. However when I look back now, I
do so with the understanding (and knowledge) that you can get
recourse and that your ideas are worth protecting, and the law agrees
with these sentiments.

So now it’s up to you as to how strongly you feel about this theft,
and remember if they think this item is worth copying (stealing) then
it must be of some real value and I would think it should be worthy
of your protection…

Cheers, Thomas.
Janstrom Designs.


#12
What exactly did they rip off? The secrets to the universe? Common
folks! This is just jewelry! get over it! 

There seems to be a lot of divided opinion on this one. The first
approach may be a little overkill for some but the second comment
seems a little harsh. Amery works hard and her business is her
livelihood. Someone has blatantly taken some of that hard work and
directly ripped it off - including her logo. That may not be a big
deal for some but I would imagine it would knock you sideways if it
happened to you. None of us can say what impact it could have on
Amery’s business.

Helen
UK


#13

Mary

I don’t think you realized they are forging her logo too! To me
that’s a form of identity theft. In business, your logo is your
signature.

Amery,

Go get them, make it stop! Maybe contact the bar association where
you are for a pro-bono attorney I would actually get one of the
copied pieces as proof, with a receipt of where it was purchased.

How about the Association that supports artisans? Gosh, I can’t
remember their name. I think they are also involved with the
Philadelphia Wholesale Show. Does anyone know who I am speaking of?
They might be able to help you.

Best of luck to you,

Vera
Vera Battemarco
Couture Artisan Jewelry ™


#14
 Wow I think this is over kill! You must be joking?! What exactly
did they rip off? The secrets to the universe? Common folks! This
is just jewelry! get over it! 

And if someone was walking into your house and carrying off your
stuff, would you say the same? "It’s only electronics, clothes…"
This is theft!!

It might make sense to contact Lawyers for the Creative Arts
http://www.law-arts.org. This has got to be the kind of thing they
deal with.

Noel


#15
Actually no registration is necessary. Copyright exists from the
time the design is created. 

Yes, copyright does exist from time of original creation, but unless
it has been registered prior to protest, legal recourse is generally
not available. That’s the advantage of registration.

Wayne, been there


#16

A cheap way to “register” is to take photos when you make a piece and
put those photos in a mailing envelope.(sign across the flap on the
back) Then mail that envelope to yourself. Don’t open the envelope
when you recieve it. Now you have a postmarked envelop with pictures
of your piece. If you have to go to court you have plausible evidence
that you created the design on a certain date. At court you would
present the envelope and let them open it there.

Jim


#17

That is correct that you can establish proof of copyright by
publication date through marketing materials such as post cards or
web site launch pictures etc. anything that can be traced to a date.
However; the other side will invariably make claims that it is public
domain and therefore not “copyrightable”,and by having the registered
copyright it gives you far more legal leverage,and an undesputable
position. Although if you have samples “in hand” that were made by
them with your stamp in them that is very blatant and foolish on
thier part,and should make your case a very strong one and much
easier to enforce.

Frankenstein


#18
If this is in the US, registration is not required for the
protection of copyright. In order to *file* for damages, you have
to register. 

Yes this is true again; however punitive damages are usually many
times greater than actual damages.

Frankenstein


#19
A cheap way to "register" is to take photos when you make a piece
and put those photos in a mailing envelope. 

Sorry, Jim, but this is an inaccuracy that simply won’t die. This
"evidence" is not admissible in a court case and hasn’t been for many
years. Copyright is very difficult to prove in non-printed materials,
but it can be done. Amery would have to go back and prove the history
of the item in question through her original designs, first
productions, etc. It can be done and it has been done when some of
the Native American designs were being copied (even down to the
hallmarks) in the Phillipines in the 1990’s. The tribe bought a
lawsuit against the manufacturer for copyright infringement and it
was successful.

BBR - Sandi Graves
Stormcloud Trading Co (Beadstorm)
Saint Paul, Minnesota
651-645-0343


#20
A cheap way to "register" is to take photos when you make a piece
and put those photos in a mailing envelope.(sign across the flap on
the back) Then mail that envelope to yourself. 

Someone on this forum (don’t remember the name but he is/was an
attorney) debunked this “fact.” Sorry I can’t recall the details, but
don’t count on this method to hold up in court! Perhaps someone else
remembers better than I?

Beth