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Let's get Yurman


#1

Was [Twisted Wire Bangles]

What a coincidence! We recently got a letter from the Yurman
lawyer suggesting that we copied his "registered copyrighted
designs". It goes like this... 

So… This cutthroat “jeweler”–who, to my mind, doesn’t have an
original bone in his body–is making life miserable for people. Isn’t
there a way to challenge one of these copyright things? Has such a
person ever successfully been counter-sued? If so, there could be a
class action suit in it (maybe under the aegis of a trade
association), and, if won, a nice chunk of money for a lawyer willing
to take it on contingency.

Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US


#2

Perhaps to begin with you could ask for pictures of the items they
say you have copied. They are the ones complaining after all. I’m
sure we are all interested to see where they are coming from, it is
very easy to stamp on the smaller guy if you have enough money

Tim.


#3

Lisa Orland is right. I join her in wishing we could do something
about Yurman’s stealing an ancient technique, using it to create a
"body of work," getting it under a protective copyright, and thereby
creating a total monopoly on it, and hindering others from doing
anything that he claims infringes on his right to be the only one to
use this process. Anything that even remotely resembles his work is
subject to being label ed an infringement on his copyright. As far as
I am concerned, twisted wire bangles, earrings etc. with or without
balls at the end have been in the public domain for ages. Let him
prove that he, and not the ancients " invented" it and was the first
to use it. It would be interesting to see if a class action suit
against him, on the basis of his hindering and restricting fair
utilization of a process, sty le, theme etc., that has been in the
public domain for ages, could nulify his copyright… It really irks me
that a small jeweler, trying to make a living is subjec t to threats
and intimidations on the basis that he has infringed on an illicitly
obtained copyright.

Yurman is the one who should be sued. Alma Rands


#4
Isn't there a way to challenge one of these copyright things? Has
such a person ever successfully been counter-sued? 

I said it before, and I’ll pound the point home - I’m not a lawyer or
even close to it. Since this has become a Yurman thread, though. I
looked deeper into “his” website, just out of curiousity. No, there
is nothing remotely original there - mostly recycled Byzantine and
Etruscan stuff. If you’ll notice a few things, though: First off,
when you hit the “Online Shopping” button, you are redirected to
Neiman Marcus, though the site looks the same. If you read the Privacy
notices, it comes from N.M., too. It also addresses the "Trade Dress"
copyright - web site, packaging, etc. It also says that they will not
accept secrecy - anything you send to them becomes their property
automatically, and they do not give credit or pay royalties - read
it, that’s what it says. Talk about pirates. That’s not the problem,
though. The problem is judges and the court system, meaning that they
probably don’t know anything more about jewelry than your average or
above average shopper - certainly you’re not likely to get a judge
who’s also a G.G. So, a maker will take a piece to the office and
register a trademark (Yurman’s pieces aren’t just copyrighted, they
are REGISTERED copyright). Once that happens, any other judge is
likely to just rubber stamp it. Precedent and all that. I’d say that
if one were being sued, and could find a really good lawyer - that
being one who can think outside the box - a good case could be built,
with documentation, the the work is merely derivative to begin with,
and unless it’s an exact copy it’s also just recycled classical
ideas. But that might just be wishful thinking or naivete, plus, if
the piece IS an exact copy, even by accident, you’re sunk. I
personally have no stake in this - my work is on another planet from
his - to me it’s just an interesting issue. And the other issue is,
how can a person ever even BE permitted to copyright something that
isn’t even original to begin with?

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#5

Lisa,

David Yurman has what is known as a Trade Dress Patent on his
cable/stone designs. It is a patent applied to a body of work whose
signature look has achieved recognition as belonging to a certain
individual, distinct from all others. It is not a design copyright
for a single piece, but for a larger, recognizable body of work.
Does it seem fair, when twisted cable has been around for centuries?
No, until you learn what a Trade Dress Patent is. Then, Yurman gets
the prize for being smart.

Yurman’s design rights have been challenged and tested repeatedly
and have withstood all the legal challenges. Why on Earth would
anyone who claims to have creative talents worry about any of this?
For me, at least, from the creative side, once a piece is done, it
is done…I no longer have creative interest in it. If you wish to
copy it, have a go. If you wish to make a line from it and are
successful, good for you. Ideas are cheap, there is little new under
the sun, although the creative ego likes to think that one’s designs
spring completely anew from inside our wonderfully creative and
unique little minds…hogwash, of course.

Every piece each one of us has created is a melding of what our
subconscious has seen elsewhere, brought together with conscious or
unconscious thought, and which learned skill can then bring to
physical reality…sometimes. It’s all a blending of shapes, forms
and deas “borrowed” from the library of our experience.

Who cares what Yurman is doing or has done? The pieces have never
appealed to me that much, they do to many, they sell well, I’m happy
for him, end of the deal.

Maybe others here are different, but I am given only so much energy
each day. I can use that to learn strive, think, create, apply
resources, build, sell and earn…or complain that some successful
business person and artist has done the same. and done it very well,
and used thee system to seal the deal. The rest of us scurry about
trying to figure out what “Trade Dress” means. Look, I’m pretty sure
we can all go forward without twisted cable, so why spend precious
energy on it. I don’t know how old you are, but when you pass the 60
mark, you will probably spend less time worrying what others are
doing and more time wishing you had, well, more time. I hate to tell
you this, but business success is not attained through
"originality", it is attained by finding a need and filling it. And
knowing how to use our system of copyrights and patents is a big
help. It IS all about business, and NOT all about art. That’s the
reason there are so many creative people looking for work; they are
all members of the Starving Hopeful Artists Fighting Tyranny club
(SHAFT).

Good luck on your journey,

Wayne


#6

Yurman has won every time he’s gone to court. In this country it
isn’t about how creative you are but how good your lawyers are.

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


#7

Here is my two cents:

I sell at Saks where Yurman sells. I have a case next to Yurman. I
don’t know anything about his trademarks etc and have not cared
because my work is very different so not an issue. I do agree however
that his manufactured crud has been done before a billion times over
by people over centuries. I also don’t understand why he would go
after you if he can’t go after Lagos for example who is very VERY
similar and also sells in Saks.

But - beyond this, what I object to about him is that he has created
a body of customers who are mindless drone stepford wife people who
just buy for status. It is like Calvin Klein Jeans were in the 70’s
and for me, it is ridiculous. Sure he is smart – that doesn’t bug
me. What bugs me is that no one - not stores, not people like us
here, and not any trade association that I am a member of and I am a
member of all of them, seem to want to at least quell this branding
insanity and re-educate the public. Is it their job to do so? Maybe
not - but in the end we all lose with this kind of fascist and
monopoliptic business tactics because it creates a funnel that ONLY
he is worth buying, which BTW for investment he isn’t. Come resale
or at estate he is down the tubes. So - I would love to get him, but I
think the way to do it is to take him down politically.

Arch


#8

It would be interesting for someone to contact the Yurman attorneys
and ask them to post EXACTLY what they think IS protected right here
on the Orchid forum… as well as what’s NOT - and why? Define
precisely where the “borderline” is - and the date that the
protection was granted? We could all learn something from this - even
if it’s only what attorneys “think” they can protect.

I have no dog in this race anymore, though I do have drawings and
photos of work that I did back in '80 or '81 that would probably be
construed as violating whatever is now deemed protected. I got bored
with the stuff in a couple months and moved on.

Patents, copyrights, and “Trade Dress” for a body of work can ALL be
challenged. If there are enough people on the forum who are offended
by the government awarding these particular legal protections, then
gather together and take the first step toward nullifying them! If
our system for protecting patents and copyrights is defective, then
it is up to the majority of those who depend on real protection - to
fix it.

I have some totally unrelated registered copyrights of my own. I’d
be interested in seeing whether they were worth the time & trouble to
acquire, or whether they are only of value when backed up by a highly
paid team of attorneys using what amounts to expensive scare tactics?

About a year ago, I was asked to participate in a trade dress
lawsuit. The plaintiff claimed that her company had exclusive rights
to engraving “sayings” on her jewelry. The defendant replied that
that was impossible - that this had been done throughout history. The
defendant won. See any similarity here?

If that plaintiff HAD won, almost every hand engraver I know would
have been a likely candidate for a similar lawsuit!

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA USA
www.jewelryartschool.com


#9
Yurman has won every time he's gone to court. In this country it
isn't about how creative you are but how good your lawyers are. 

I’m interested – how do you know that he’s won? And yes,
unfortunately the legal system is subject to manipulation. It is
often possible, however, to defend yourself just by pushing back a
little. The guy with the $$ to pay high-priced lawyers is often just
counting on scaring you off with this kind of letter. The lawyer may
could well be saying to his client: “You don’t really have a claim
here, but maybe we can scare them off”.


#10
Lisa Orland is right. I join her in wishing we could do something
about Yurman's stealing an ancient technique, using it to create a
"body of work," getting it under a protective copyright, and
thereby creating a total monopoly on it, and hindering others from
doing anything that he claims infringes on his right to be the only
one to use this process. 

You are assuming that someone has blessed his right to this, which
is not necessarily the case. Anyone can continue to do his or her own
thing and, if they hear from Yurman, challenge him. Yes, I know
lawyers cost money that is hard for most artists to pay (artists
being so very severely underpaid) but one could likely keep lawyer
time down by doing the stuff that’s not purely legal (such as
research) oneself.


#11
Yurman's design rights have been challenged and tested repeatedly
and have withstood all the legal challenges. 

I’m interested – how do you know about Yurman’s design rights being
tested? I’d like to read about it.


#12

David Yurman doesn’t care about you, why do you care so much about
David Yurman? Give it a rest already.

I’m not a Yurman fan, and I don’t like his work, but if you worked
hard and spent the money to build a jewelry empire like he has, then
he has the right to defend it. And because this system works for him,
it can work for you too. So go out and create something totally
different and MARKET it like hell.

Daniel is right. What David Yurman has done is created a STYLE. He
has been so successful in his marketing efforts that anything else
looks like a “yurman” in the cable twist.

-k

“When artists get together, they talk about money, when bankers get
together, they talk about art.”

M E T A L W E R X
School for Jewelry and the Metalarts
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
781 891 3854
www.metalwerx.com


#13
isn't about how creative you are but how good your lawyers are. 

Yeah. Look at that football player who isn’t guilty but if he
was…

I don’t think anyone has a prayer of beating this Yurman guy in
court, and as for a lawyer taking it on contingency, call 20 lawyers
and see if any of them say yes.

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers


#14

Hi Wayne,

“That’s the reason there are so many creative people looking for
work; they are all members of the Starving Hopeful Artists Fighting
Tyranny club (SHAFT).”

All I can say is - ouch!

Donna
Donna Hiebert Design
http://www.donnahiebert.com


#15

This thread seems to be taking an unpleasant turn. Why not spend the
energy creating instead of complaining.

Kevin Kelly


#16
Yurman has won every time he's gone to court. In this country it
isn't about how creative you are but how good your lawyers are. 

When someone mentioned the $750,000 Yurman won against a jeweler, I
was appalled and so I looked the case up. You’re right, in most of
the cases like this you’re only as good as your lawyer and paid
experts. The general public doesn’t know his designs aren’t totally
original. I never could tell from reading the case how this jeweler
infringed on which copyright. Anyway, in this particular case Yurman
did lose something, in a way. On appeal he lost the punitive damage
part of the judgment and the attorneys’ fee part. The jewelry
company that was sued was then supposed to pay around $200,000. I
couldn’t tell from the case (reading from the Internet) whether it
would be appealed further or that was the end of it.

Whatever the case, it’s still not fair. But, as my son reminded me
that I always told him, “life isn’t fair; you do your best, make the
best of a situation and remember that what goes around comes around”
(my Pollyanna approach). Hey, he was listening after that ballgame.
He did get a kick of reminding me what I said.

Vickie


#17

Ah well. I tried to create a new thread, but I see lots of Yurman
posts still under the old thread. What to do, what to do…

Very interesting set of responses, though. I’m not even remotely
worried about myself, at least at this point. I’m concerned that
Yurman has a firm trolling for people to sue, and I consider that an
industry issue. And an Orchid issue, since we just heard from some
Orchidians who have been threatened.

Since I’m not in that end of the business, I don’t know anything
about trade associations, but I would think this would be of concern
to them, since it’s likely to be their members that Yurman will go
after. Some posters say that Yurman has always won, but has he ever
had to go up against a trade association? A judge might take a
slightly different view of such a case–especially if the suit
originated with the association. At the very least, I would think
such associations would be filing “friend of the court” briefs in
these cases, or paying for the lawyer (don’t you manufacturing folks
have some kind of legal insurance?).

One way or the other, it’s a nasty practice, and my "union"
mentality (aka sense of solidarity) tends to extend to people in this
trade. So I’d like to see him stopped.

What James says is particularly interesting. I don’t see how Yurman
can be winning all these cases if this is true.

Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US


#18
Yes, I know lawyers cost money that is hard for most artists to
pay (artists being so very severely underpaid) but one could likely
keep lawyer time down by doing the stuff that's not purely legal
(such as research) oneself. 

This is wishful thinking when you are dealing with professional
legal teams who are on staff at a company like Yurman’s. A good
lawyer (at the level you are going to need to deal with the guys
working for Yurman) is going to cost you between $350-$600/hour. And
no matter how much footwork you do, you are going to run up a huge
bill trying to fight these guys. As a matter of fact, part of their
goal is to out spend you. Unless you are independently wealthy, or
you have a really large business, you simply aren’t going to have the
resources to come up against these guys in any effective manner.

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


#19

I’m interested – how do you know that he’s won?

I read. I read every jewelry magazine that is printed from cover to
cover, something I would suggest all the rest of you do too. It’s
highly informative. According to the articles, every court case I’ve
read about him being involved in, he’s won. Is it possible that there
are some cases that haven’t been written up? Sure, but it’s not
likely, as he makes it a point to publicize these things as part of
his attempt to protect his copyrights and because the magazines would
make a point of covering a case he didn’t win. And it really wouldn’t
hurt any of you to read something besides what’s written on the
computer.

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


#20

If you don’t want to get burned in courts, why try and start to
light the fire. Don’t approach a law issue with similar designs.
Simple? Just my two Canadian scents!..

Gerry!