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Maker stamp legal process?


#1

I work for a small shop and approached my boss about putting my own
stamp in the pieces i’ve designed here, next to the store stamp. Not
to claim ownership in any way. Just for myself.

I was told that it was no problem for me to do so but there was a
long legal process involved and the fees for setting it up were
fairly high but I didn’t get much more

Does anyone know the process of setting up whatever it is he was
talking about? Is the even accurate?

Thanks in advance for any help.


#2

I think it depends if you are going to register your mark on a state
level or a federal level. Registering it in the state is not too
expensive (though this may vary by state) but federal means it has
to be unique in the whole country and I believe it costs about 10x
what a state level costs… again, may vary state by state.

Jeanne


#3

If you are just marking your work (like with your initials); there
is not legal process. If you want to have your maker mark
copyrighted, then there is a moderately expensive legal process, but
you can do that through the Federal copyright office.

John
www.rasmussengems.com


#4

If you are in the US there is not any legal requirement for what you
want to do. The requirements are that your bosses makers mark must be
a registered trademark to be applied next to the quality mark (14k,
Platinum, Sterling etc). Additional marks are not regulated so your
initials or whatever are not regulated as long as his mark is a
registered trademark.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#5

You need to file your maker’s mark as a trademark. An Intellectual
Property Attorney can help.


#6

i think your boss is just trying to discourage you. Anyone can put
their makers mark on a piece- without registering it with federal or
state agencies, or even SNAG, or Society of American Silversmiths,
however listing it with the two later agencies is recommended even if
you don’t want to pay the $350.00 for a trademark registry with the
FTC. As for legal processes- that’s simply BS- it is neither lengthy
nor long- just sending a cheque is all that is involved along with a
copy of your mark. I would however have something in writing with
your boss because if he/she is discouraging you from using your own
identifying mark on work you do (does the business own your designs?
Do you have a non-compete and non-disclosure agreement with them in
writing? Do you, by contract, do design work for them as part of your
salaried position or by the piece on an individually commissioned
basis? Do you keep a portfolio of your designs even if the business
you work for owns the copyrights or production rights?) they must be
very satisfied with your work to the point of trying to dissuage you
from striking out on your own within the context of their auspices or
feel that you may begin doing your own design and production work
independent of their business, though your work is largely generated
or known in the community as originating from within their business.
Sounds like you are ready to begin your own design and fabricatiion
work. Perhaps you can suggest an arrangement in which you create a
line that they agree to promote and sell on the premises (or to
their wholesale clients whichever the situation may be) in return for
a mutually agreeable part of the profits and using their raw
materials in kind for the fair market value of your design work and
fabrication time or some such equitable arrangement through which you
have an outlet for sales and promotion of your branded work as a
means of exposure of your craftsmanship and talent… just a
thought… rer


#7
Does anyone know the process of setting up whatever it is he was
talking about? Is the even accurate? 

I’m no legal expert, but intuition suggests that if there is a store
stamp, it will serve as the registered trademark required by law.
For you to then add your own mark as an artist/craftsman’s signature
would not require trademark registration if you don’t want, since
the piece already carries a legal trademark. Just because you’re
going to put a mark on a ring doesn’t mean you have to register it or
anything, unless you wish it to serve as a registered trademark on
it’s own. If any mark put on a ring needed registration, you’d have
to register your files and hammers, because they too leave a
characteristic mark… Well, maybe that’s a stretch, but I still
don’t think you need to register anything. So I’d guess all you have
to do is design a suitable mark, and have the stamp made. Or for the
"personal touch" used by some artists, simply use a vibro-graver or
some other tool to actually sign the work. It’s not as polished and
professional looking (in the traditional commercial sense) as a
stamp would be, but it can add a nice personalized touch that
emphasizes the individual nature of especially, one of a kind pieces.
I’d suggest that if you have a stamp made, have it sized to be
smaller than the store stamp, so the identity of the store stamp as
trademark isn’t in doubt.

By the way, from what I’ve seen, craftspeople putting their own
signature on work made for their employers, as you’re requesting to
do, isn’t common practice. Many employers figure they are paying for
your design and construction skills, and that this gives them
ownership of the work you produce for them (and indeed it does), as
well as ownership of the designs themselves which you produce as
their employee, unless you have an expressly stated contract whereby
you retain the rights to the designs you make for them. That’s not
common for an employee/emoployer relationship, though it’s not
unknown. Employers who agree to let you sign your designs generally
do so because they feel it will enhance their own position and the
percieved value of the work, rather than because they feel they owe
you the right to sign your work… Again, there may be exeptions to
this, but offhand, I can’t think of any such employers that I’ve run
across…

Peter Rowe


#8

If you are just registering a combination of initials, no one else
on whichever level (state or federal) can have that registered. and
to trademark a kind of logo, you need to be able to show that you
have been using it somehow in your business, such as letterheads,
business card, website etc…and it cannot be too close to another
logo to be confused with it or to be misleading.


#9

When I did my hallmark (Federal Trade Commission, if I remember
correctly), the registration process took 18 months and the cost was
just under $300. You have to renew every 5 years at another $100 each
renewal. You can look up the hallmarks on-line to make sure that what
you want is not taken. Some people get a lawyer to do this but if you
live in the Washington, D.C. area you can actually go into the Trade
Commission office and pull out the trays to look at registered
trademarks.

Donna in VA


#10

Greetings all:

Anybody know if there’s reciprocity with British Assay marks?
(Goldsmiths’ company sponsor’s marks.) (As in: if you’re registered
with the company, do the Americans recognize that as a valid
registration for ID marks?)

Regards,
Brian.


#11

I believe this sort of stuff has been discussed here before. In the
US you can use a simple depression from a ball burr as a makers mark
(un registered) and legally stamp quality. No legal protection if the
person down the hall does the same. Casting pinholes as a makers mark
any one? (I have seen it done :slight_smile:

I can see the boss freaking about adding your stamp unless he is
smart enough to use it as a sales feature. 'Yes, this an original
design fo our store and it is even signed by our designer/goldsmith’
If you may want more $$ in the future for using your mark too I’m
sure that there are IP lawyers to share some of it, but what you want
seem to want now is legal

For now and simple, get his blessing/permission. I doubt that he is
going to recall all the pieces to have your stamp removed.

Warning… I am NOT an IP lawyer, but have done a fair bit of
research in the US and met in person with metal police in Canada.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#12
I believe this sort of stuff has been discussed here before. In
the US you can use a simple depression from a ball burr as a makers
mark (un registered) and legally stamp quality. No legal protection
if the person down the hall does the same. Casting pinholes as a
makers mark any one? (I have seen it done :-) 

No this is not at all legal. Read the FTC guides section 23.9. To
legally stamp a quality mark (Karat etc) it must be accompanied by a
registered trademark or the manufacturers name.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#13

My certificate says 10 years. Is it different now?

James B. is correct; extra marks are not regulated as long as you are
not making marks that would confuse the consumer. Karat marks MUST be
accompanied by registered trademarks. (FTC) That said many, many
jewelers in this country have never complied with the trademark laws.
I see them all the time.

But you do not need a lawyer. The process is straight forward with a
little bit of patience and some online know how. You can do it. It
does cost some money but you will have the pride of being legitimate.

Samuel Brown in CA


#14
No this is not at all legal. Read the FTC guides section 23.9. To
legally stamp a quality mark (Karat etc) it must be accompanied by
a registered trademark or the manufacturers name. 

This caught me by surprise. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing the
and the FTC citation.

The citation specifically says “…the trademark or name of such
person.” This raises questions about the “person’s” name. In the
case of a DBA (Doing Business As) can an individual use the DBA name
(“King Cole’s Gold” for example - just came to mind, sorry…) or
must it be the maker’s personal name? If a personal name, is a first
initial and full last name O.K.

I followed the citation further and found this definition:

  (b) The term "person" means an individual, partnership,
  corporation, or any other form of business enterprise, capable
  of being in violation of sections 294 to 300 of this title. 

I would assume that a DBA would count as the “person’s” name. It
isn’t clear if an initial and last name is adequate, though.

Any further clarification would be appreciated.
Neil A.


#15
No this is not at all legal. Read the FTC guides section 23.9. To
legally stamp a quality mark (Karat etc) it must be accompanied by
a registered trademark or the manufacturers name. 

Are there any real consequences for NOT doing this perfectly
legally? Or more to the point, has anyone in the US ever had to
answer to anyone in a position of authority for doing this without
registering a legal trademark? I have been working precious metals
since 1972 and I have only once heard a rumor (from an unverifiable
source) of someone having legal problems from non-compliance.


#16

Peter,

I haven’t talked to you in a long time. If I send my wedding ring to
you, would you be willing to repair it for me. That would mean
making a new band to match the other, curve it to match the middle
ring and set the small diamonds on the new band.

At one glance you will see what the ring needs. 

I need the ring to be resizes to an 8.

I am willing to pay whatever you charge for the work. I have been
married for 27 years, this is my original wedding ring and it means
a lot to me to have it on my finger again. It was off my finger
because of the diamonds falling off and needing to be resized, not
because of a faulty marriage.

Please let me know you mailing address. Time is not of the essence.

Yvonne Pankowski
ympdesign.com


#17

I’m wondering if I’m understanding this correctly. Are you saying
that if I mark my Sterling “sterling” and sign it, this is illegal?
My signature is NOT a registered trademark. This seems very odd to
me…

Thanks!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


#18
I'm wondering if I'm understanding this correctly. Are you saying
that if I mark my Sterling "sterling" and sign it, this is
illegal? My signature is NOT a registered trademark. This seems
very odd to me.... 

Not at all,go read the reference in the guides. If you use your
legal name no problem. The whole idea is to identify the maker. When
you stamp/sign a piece with your name and the quality mark you are in
effect saying “I Beth Wicker certify this is Sterling”.

FWIW I am not a lawyer but this is how I read the guides.

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#19

Does anyone know the process or even the agency that one would
register a mark? I keep finding conflicting within the
FTC laws. The 1978 act says that it has to be registered, but it
fails to say with whom. It is not a trademark per say, as that is for
marking intellectual property. And, there is on US Assay office that
regulates marks, according to my search. And, further reading on the
1978 laws speaks of marking metals as for trade as in minting and
such. Could we be missing the meaning of this law?

I freely admit that I could be missing something very easy to find,
but if there is a process for registering a mark in the US, could
someone at least point me to the institution that handles this,
please?

My attourney friends told me not to worry, but if there is ever a
legal issue left untidy, it tends to find me :0)

Thanks in advance!!!

Michael Johnson
http://www.cosmicfolklore.com
http://cosmicfolklore.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#20
Does anyone know the process or even the agency that one would
register a mark? I keep finding conflicting within the
FTC laws. The 1978 act says that it has to be registered, but it
fails to say with whom. It is not a trademark per say, as that is
for marking intellectual property. 

It is registered with the USPTO and it is a trademark. A registered
trademark is a unique, legal identification of a company or person
in a certain product category. You could for example have a dozen
companies with the registered trademark “Acme” but only one could be
registered in the jewelry category. Therefore it is a unique
identifier of that companies goods not just their intellectual
property. There are hundreds of categories and it can be somewhat
confusing to figure out which ones you should register for. This is
where the attorneys make their money. But you certainly can do it
yourself.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts