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Need of business advice


#1

Hi all!

I really hope that some of you may be able to offer me some business
advice that I have been putting off…

to not bore anyone, I will get right to the point.(but bear with me
while I try to relate all relevent

I am a jeweler. I have worked for the same company for the past 15
years. while employed there I did repair work and custom designs. I
have approx. 200 designs of my own…designed a fabricated by me in
the store. I have a base of customers who like and request my work.
I have won the Pennsylvania Jewelers Award while employed at the
store 4 times and have been written up in National Jeweler Magazine.

sounds good, eh?
ok, now the problem.

the employers are my parents and we had a terrible falling out. At
the time I was pregnant and crushed at the loss of my job. (the
falling out had more to do with problems between mom and dad than
with me myself)

now i have a beautiful 6 mos old son and I work part time for a
small outfit doing repair work and I am not very satisfied with the
situation. I have started the process of beginning my own
business…(I have found many of the posts VERY helpful…the
funding for a new studio thread was wonderful)

now for the advice part…

My old employer (my parents) after they forced me to quit they have
refused to tell any of their customers that I am no longer working
there (they have told customers I am on maternity leave) they still
have signs up that say “awarding winning jeweler on premesis”.

they refuse to give me acess or commission (that was promised) in
any way to the 200 designs of my own that remain in the store…(now
the supplies to produce these were bought by the store, however i was
promised some type of commmission on the “intellectual copyright” of
these designs) i asked if we could come up with some type of contract
so that I could show my work…but to no avail!

I am trying to start with a clean slate…but being a new mom that
is trying to fund a studio it would really help to have some kind of
access to my work or some kind of financial compensation that i was
promised.

Can I add that this has been very difficult for me. I trained under
my father who is also a jeweler. I always thought the business would
be mine someday and I feel hurt and betrayed and because of my son I
have to speak to them and ignore this problem, and when I bring it up
I usually get no response or angry accusations. I miss my old job, I
miss my parents (our relationship isn’t the same), and I miss doing
the work that I so love to do.

please, fire away with the advice…
thanks,
-julia


#2

My advice for what it is worth.

Go back to your parents with your son. Apologize for what ever
indiscretion you think you might have caused. Patch things up and
start over. It’s hard to do, but you have to do it.

The health and well being of your son is more important than petty
arguments with your family.

-k
Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


#3

Loosen up the load and let go! Tell your parents that you have more
love in you heart than to act as they do to you! Get a lawyer to
consult with and see about your options on what you might do if they
ignore your sign removal request!

Then send flowers with your request and tell them you miss the old
times and hope they have a great life! That will get them thinking
and perhaps you can yet salvage your family. Have faith in yourself
and try winging it on your own. Dam the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Good Luck
Ringman
John Henry


#4

Welcome to the club. Surprising that you lasted 15 years. Perhaps
you parents are reluctant to admit their age and the thought that if
you bought them out they would no longer be in charge. You seem to
have a decided generation gap. The young are always wrong to their
parents. Forget it and open your own place if that is what you want
or go to work for someone else.

Been there, done that
R. Neldner


#5

As a business owner, I appreciate the difficulty in getting started.
As an x-counselor, let go of the relationship (don’t give up, just
let go for now). If you can afford a small monthly fee (say $20),
start your own web site. It will take time for you to get know, but
your accolades should help. There are many people who can help you
build the site and it you want, it is not difficult to learn. I
manage over 100 pages of my own site. I could teach you in about 2
days how to use Netscape to make your pages and how to use WS-FTP
to upload them to the server, which as I said could cost as little as
$20 per month.

Just a thought,
Murray


#6

This is not really a business advice question. It’s sort of a
jumble of a therapy question and a business question. They have to
be sorted out.

The question is –

-what is more important – salvaging your relationship with your
parents?

OR

-salvaging the 200 designs you’ve already done?

If you want access to the designs and customers, then maybe you need
an arbitrator to help you and your parents work out this issue.

The other direction would be:

-separate the two issues.

Decide to start again with your jewelry business, without the
benefit of the association of your parents and their store. If
you’ve designed 200 rings, you can design 200 more. If your
customers like you, they’ll see your ads, and they’ll come to your
new shop.

Work out the issues with your parents in family therapy, or not.
Sometimes some people have to not talk to their parents for a while.
Only you know that.

It sounds like you might benefit from some professional help to help
you sort out these issues – either an arbitrator or a therapist or
social worker. Only you can decide which direction to go.

It’s sad if you lose the designs, etc., but remember this:

you have the benefit of the training from you dad, you have the
years of experience you gained working for your parents and no one
can take that away from you.

Many people are not born into the industry at all. Even though
you’ve lost the dream of taking over the family business, at least
you had the benefit of those years of training. You can still start
a new legacy to pass on to your son.

Good luck,
Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#7

Dear Julia,

The last thing I like to do is give legal advise, but this is a very
difficult and personal situation. Emotionally charged. It hits close
to home.

Get an arbitrator. Now! Do not wait. Ask all your friends, your
banker, your accountant, everybody for recommendations. Interview
them, discuss cost, pick the one you feel most comfortable with. Is
there a law school near by? Use them. The relief will be like a
breath of air to a drowning person. The feeling of being manipulate
should diminish almost immediately. You will gain control of the
situation. Do it now, do not delay a day.

Get your ducks in a row. Write down everything you want and the
compromises you are willing to make during negotiations. You should
consider not attending meetings. Let the third party communicate and
negotiate for you. Get it all in writing. Make it very legal. Very
non-personal.

The considerations can be complicated if they are not willing to be
forthcoming. For instance if they are to pay you a commission on
your designs. How do you know they sold any? Do you want access to
there documentation when it appears they never sell your designs?
Maybe they should just pay you for the designs outright and then it
is over. A lot to think about and the arbitrator will help you
define a course of action.

Remember, there is a less emotional and easier way, just walk away.
Forget it, get on with your life.

The best of luck. Bill

[ Invite a Friend - http://www.ganoksin.com/invite.=
htm ]

Hi all!

I really hope that some of you may be able to offer me some business
advice that I have been putting off...
to not bore anyone, I will get right to the point.(but bear with me
while I try to relate all relevent 
I am a jeweler.  I have worked for the same company for the past 15
years. while employed there I did repair work and custom designs.   I
have approx. 200 designs of my own....designed a fabricated by me in
the store.  I have a base of customers who like and request my work.
I have won the Pennsylvania Jewelers  Award while employed at the
store 4 times and have been written up in National Jeweler Magazine.
sounds good, eh?
ok, now the problem.
the employers are my parents and we had a terrible falling out. At
the time I was pregnant and crushed at the loss of my job.  (the
falling out had more to do with problems between mom and dad than
with me myself)
now i have a beautiful 6 mos old son and I work part time for a
small outfit doing repair work and I am not very satisfied with the
situation.  I have started the process of beginning my own
business....(I have found many of the posts VERY helpful....the
funding for a new studio thread was wonderful)
now for the advice part....
My old employer (my parents) after they forced me to quit they have
refused to tell any of their customers that I am no longer working
there (they have told customers I am on maternity leave)  they still
have signs up that say "awarding winning jeweler on premesis".
they refuse to give me acess or commission (that was promised) in
any way to the 200 designs of my own that remain in the store....(now
the supplies to produce these were bought by the store, however i was
promised some type of commmission on the "intellectual copyright" of
these designs) i asked if we could come up with some type of contract
so that I could show my work....but to no avail!
I am trying to start with a clean slate....but being a new mom that
is trying to fund a studio it would really help to have some kind of
access to my work or some kind of financial compensation that i was
promised.
Can I add that this has been very difficult for me. I trained under
my father who is also a jeweler.  I always thought the business would
be mine someday and I feel hurt and betrayed and because of my son I
have to speak to them and ignore this problem, and when I bring it up
I usually get no response or angry accusations.  I miss my old job, I
miss my parents (our relationship isn't the same), and I miss doing
the work that I so love to do.

please, fire away with the advice…
thanks,
-julia


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Welcome to Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.
Thank you for making contact. We hope we can serve your needs and
introduce you to some new and old exotic materials. RMS has over 20
years as the leader in exotic jewelry metals.
Deborah, Michele, Bill

Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.
PO Box 890 * Clarkdale, AZ 86324
Ph-928/634-3434 * Ph-800/876-3434 * Fax-928/634-6734
E-mail- info@reactivemetals.com
Catalog- www.reactivemetals.com
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Re: [Orchid] Need of business advice
Dear Julia,
The last thing I like to do is give legal advise=8A but this is a very difficult and personal situation. Emotionally charged. It hits close to home.
Get an arbitrator. Now!  Do not wait. Ask all your friends, your banker, your accountant, everybody for recommendations. Interview them, discuss cost, pick the one you feel most comfortable with. Is there a law school near by? Use them. The relief will be like a breath of air to a drowning person. The feeling of being manipulate should diminish almost immediately. You will gain control of the situation. Do it now, do not delay a day.
Get your ducks in a row. Write down everything you want and the compromises you are willing to make during negotiations. You should consider not attending meetings. Let the third party communicate and negotiate for you. Get it all in writing. Make it very legal. Very non-personal.

The considerations can be complicated if they are not willing to be forthcoming. For instance if they are to pay you a commission on your designs. How do you know they sold any? Do you want access to there documentation when it appears they never sell your designs? Maybe they should just pay you for the designs outright and then it is over. A lot to think about and the arbitrator will help you define a course of action.

Remember, there is a less emotional and easier way=8A  just walk away. Forget it, get on with your life.
The best of luck.
Bill









<blockquote type="cite" cite[ Invite a Friend -

te>


Hi all!

    I really hope that some of you may be able to offer me some business
    advice that I have been putting off...

    to not bore anyone, I will get right to the point.(but bear with me
    while I try to relate all relevent

    I am a jeweler.  I have worked for the same company for the past 15
    years. while employed there I did repair work and custom designs.   I
    have approx. 200 designs of my own....designed a fabricated by me in
    the store.  I have a base of customers who like and request my work.
    I have won the Pennsylvania Jewelers  Award while employed at the
    store 4 times and have been written up in National Jeweler Magazine.

    sounds good, eh?
    ok, now the problem.

    the employers are my parents and we had a terrible falling out. At
    the time I was pregnant and crushed at the loss of my job.  (the
    falling out had more to do with problems between mom and dad than
    with me myself)

    now i have a beautiful 6 mos old son and I work part time for a
    small outfit doing repair work and I am not very satisfied with the
    situation.  I have started the process of beginning my own
    business....(I have found many of the posts VERY helpful....the
    funding for a new studio thread was wonderful)

    now for the advice part....

    My old employer (my parents) after they forced me to quit they have
    refused to tell any of their customers that I am no longer working
    there (they have told customers I am on maternity leave)  they still
    have signs up that say "awarding winning jeweler on premesis".

    they refuse to give me acess or commission (that was promised) in
    any way to the 200 designs of my own that remain in the store....(now
    the supplies to produce these were bought by the store, however i was
    promised some type of commmission on the "intellectual copyright" of
    these designs) i asked if we could come up with some type of contract
    so that I could show my work....but to no avail!

    I am trying to start with a clean slate....but being a new mom that
    is trying to fund a studio it would really help to have some kind of
    access to my work or some kind of financial compensation that i was
    promised.

    Can I add that this has been very difficult for me. I trained under
    my father who is also a jeweler.  I always thought the business would
    be mine someday and I feel hurt and betrayed and because of my son I
    have to speak to them and ignore this problem, and when I bring it up
    I usually get no response or angry accusations.  I miss my old job, I
    miss my parents (our relationship isn't the same), and I miss doing
    the work that I so love to do.

please, fire away with the advice....
thanks,
-julia

____________________________________________________________________<br

T h e   O r c h i d   L i s t

Open Electronic Forum for Jewelry Manufacturing Methods and
Procedures

____________________________________________________________________<br

Orchid FAQ:

~ http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/faq.htm

Orchid Archives:

~ http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/archive

Orchid Galleries:

~ http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/gallery.htm

Invite a Friend:

____________________________________________________________________<br

~ http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/tip_sear.htm

The Jeweler’s Selected Bibliography List

~ http://www.ganoksin.com/jewelry-books

Buy Orchid Jewelry:

~ http://www.ganoksin.com/shop

____________________________________________________________________<br

-Unsubscribe:

___________________________________________________________________<span

_


--
Welcome to Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.
Thank you for making contact. We hope we can serve your needs and introduce you to some new and old exotic materials.  RMS has over 20 years as the leader in exotic jewelry metals.
Deborah, Michele, Bill

Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.
PO Box 890 * Clarkdale, AZ 86324
Ph-928/634-3434 * Ph-800/876-3434 * Fax-928/634-6734
E-mail- info@reactivemetals.com
Catalog- www.reactivemetals.com
_-1107185475==_ma End of forwarded message

#8

Julia,

I usually lurk most of the time, but I just had to respond to this.
I don’t have any advice, just lots of sympathy. My husband and I
have recently gone through a similar situation working in my parents’
company. I never, ever would have thought that family (parents in
particular) could betray and hurt people they love for financial
gain, but it happened. Trying to act as though the hurt feelings
aren’t there is almost an impossibility for me - I feel as though my
parents have died and I just don’t see any way of fixing it. I try
and get through it as best I can and try to lift myself above it and
be the bigger person for the sake of my 3 young kids, but it is
hard. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I understand the pain
you are going through and I hope that you are able to work it through
so that you can at least live with the situation. And
congratulations on your beautiful baby boy! Enjoy him - they grow
all too quickly.

Carrie
Carrie Otterson Designs


#9

Justine, I really empathize with your problem, and wish that I had
some trenchant advice for you. BUT, I think that you do not need
business advice as much as you need a professional mediator or Priest
or Rabbi or Imam, or Minister (your choice) to help you work this out
with your parents.

Let’s hope that you can resolve this by negotiation, and not through
the courts.

Also, my opinion of the legal question (though I am NOT a lawyer,) is
that the 200 designs definitely are your legal property. YOU owned
the copyright when you created to work, unless you had signed a ‘work
for hire’ agreement with your parents.

The signs which say “award winning jeweler on premesis” are
FRAUDULENT, which should be brought up to them (but gently) if it is
necessary.

…just my opinion.

David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718
213-488-9157


#10
 Also, my opinion of the legal question (though I am NOT a
lawyer,) is that the 200 designs definitely are your legal
property. YOU owned the copyright when you created to work, unless
you had signed a 'work for hire' agreement with your parents. 

David,

I don’t usually disagree with much you say, but I believe in this
case that if she was actually employed by her parents (i.e.
receiving a paycheck from them for her work) that the designs very
definitely belong to her parents. When an inventor invents something
while working for a corporation and while being paid for his time to
do it, the corporation owns the patent, not the inventor. That
being said, however, the reality is that, legally, if no copyrights
were applied for it doesn’t really matter if she wants to just go
back and duplicate the designs again. It would be highly unlikely
that her parents would pursue her legally anyway if she simply
started making all of the designs again from scratch. I suspect the
concept that without true copyright, designs can be replicated, is
going to ruffle a few feathers on Orchid, but I have recently had
extensive legal advice presented to me on this very topic and unless
copyrights were applied for there isn’t a whole lot anyone can do
about her decision to replicate her own designs. However I agree
with you and the other respondents that the problem here is not
really copyright or the designs but how to resolve the more general
issues with her parents.

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


#11

Hello Julia,

I read your explanation of your dilemma with very much sympathy. At
first I started thinking about all the legal ins and outs - and I’m
sure that a lawyer (which I am not) could think of many more. In any
case, I won’t offer “legal” advice for that reason and also, because
I haven’t heard the other side’s version.

But the fact that this is intra-family rings some bells with me as
my wife and I have gone through some of this sort of thing. The
circumstances were different, of course, but what it boiled down to
was intolerably different views on some issues which, as in your
case, inevitably involved the grandchildren. If we adults could not
agree we could turn our backs on each other and break off contact,
but then what to do about the grandparents’ “rights” or expectations
of contact with the kids? And how to explain the break in
relations to the kids? For far too long we swallowed a lot of crap
to protect the kids’ relationship with the grandparents and allow it
to continue. But after enough of that sort of time had gone by I
think the whole issue finally became clear in our minds, at least.
The kids, who were older than yours, about 3 and 7 years old if I
recall, were able to see that every contact with the grandparents
always involved tensions,pretenses, and strange behaviours which
adults would not quite explain to them. Kids can see a lot. The
essential question was whether our primary obligation was to the
children or to the grandparents? We did not want to raise our kids
to be pretenders, to accept bribes from the old folks while at the
same time hearing their own parents insulted or belittled. Damage
was being done to the kids. The answer was clear.

So, at that point I took heart in mouth and pen in hand and wrote to
the grandparents. That we disagreed about certain issues was
unfortunate, but we could not pretend otherwise. The one thing I
hoped we could agree upon was that the children not be hurt and they
were being hurt. So for that reason alone I asked them to either
modify their behaviour, and be clearly seen to do so, or forget about
seeing the kids again. I explained it was my simple duty to the
kids. I had no idea what to expect. Grandfather was a powerful lawyer
who could make a lot of trouble along those lines if he chose to do
so… The upshot was that things got better from that point forward.
It wasn’t simple. We didn’t all kiss and make up like in the movies.
We never came to a cordial, loving relationship, but they behaved
fairly from that point forward and until their deaths. Good enough.

While your primary issues with your parents revolve around business
arrangements, you say that because of your child you must speak to
your parents. I suggest that is not the case (unless you are living
with them) but what you must do is be allowed to use your skills and
your accomplishments to raise and protect your child. You have a
duty to the child first and your parents second. They may try to
fill you with guilt, call you an ingrate, who knows what? But I
don’t think they can argue against the fact that you need to support
your own child as they supported theirs. If this outrages them and
they don’t respond favourably, give it some time. Fortunately your
child is young enough to be free of expectations and will eventually
forget and forgive what I hope will be a temporary gap in his
contact with grandparents.

Fortunately, you have the skills to make a living, as far as I can
see. You might as well set up shop and begin making and selling your
own designs, including the ones your parents still sell. Did you ever
formally sign away your rights to your designs? Here I am straying
into legal issues but it seems clear to me that nobody can stop you
marketing your own work. You have a good track record and you might
find that a bank loan officer would look kindlier than you think upon
a loan application from you. Use your parents as the major
references. Ask the banker to verify the you give. Let
your parents choose either to respond honestly when the banker asks
them to verify your skills and experience, or let them tell lies.
But let them understand their legal position too. They open
themselves to being accused of slander or libel if they lie. I
think you might as well resign yourself to the fact that you will
need legal advice in this process if they are utterly unreasonable.
That costs money, unfortunately, but you must know your legal rights
and you must not forget where your first obligation is at this time.

It all sounds like a terrible, wrenching experience and I send all
my sympathy and hopes that things will work out OK. Your parents do
not sound like nice people at the moment, at least from what you
wrote. But I think if you show them that you are serious about where
your obligations are, they might come to their senses. I imagine
your hopes of inheriting the business someday is something they’ve
been able for years to dangle in front of you like the proverbial
carrot. Examine your own expectations about that.

When you open your new shop, send out ads to all your old customers.
Start making a list right now of all the ones you have dealt with at
your parents’ shop. Let them know, without denigrating the old
business, that you are now on your own with the same fine work they
have always loved and admired

I have to stop now,so I will. Where are you located? Big city? Small
town?

The very best of luck to you. And,by the way, consider all the other
advice you will be getting from many other people. This is just one
humble and poorly informed response to your situation. Lots of
folks are smarter than I am.

Marty in Victoria


#12
         The very best of luck to you. And,by the way, consider
all the other advice you will be getting from many other people.
This is just one humble and poorly informed response to your
situation. Lots of  folks are smarter than I am. 

Your reply was articulate, heartfelt, and representational of a
sense of community, not limited by geographical boundaries. A very
mature outlook, in my opinion, arrived at by taking responsibility
for your feelings, and doing what is right in spite of how you feel,
for the benefit of your children.

Good work!
Richard Hart


#13

Julia, you have my deepest sympathies.

Background for the advice I am going to offer:

I was in business (1992) with my father and we ran a small stained
glass and pewter casting studio. It was under the corporate umbrella
and I had always assumed that I was a full partner in the business
with 49% ownership. I was so certain of this that I personally
financed $80,000 in credit debt for this business and my father’s
previous business. In 1998 my mother, recently retired from her
corporate job, had joined the family business. In 2000, due to some
poor decisions and even worse wholesale shows, and being unable to
secure any further credit for the business was placed in a position
of making a decision about which bills would be paid, I chose to pay
my parents and the business’, and to place myself in bankruptcy.
When I made this decision, I assumed that my parents would stand by
me, help me throught the proceedings and continue to employ my
services because afterall, I was a 49% partner. They brought in
their lawyer who informed me that I was wrong, because my father had
never signed the minutes of the corpoarte minute book and thereby
never making me a partner at all. I demanded some form of
restitution for taking on the debt and working for little or nothing
for all those years and was told that I was sh!!-otta-luck. I was
turned loose. Fortunately my partner of the time and now husband was
incredibly supportive and allowed me ample time to recover from the
burnout and depression left by that business and my parents. It took
2 years before I could have a truely civil conversation with them
and it took another year to make the decision to just forgive them
for their abandonment.

Like what you are currently considering, my partner and I opted to
start a new business, this time using stone and sterling and
focusing on retail rather than wholesale. What we did use my parents
for however, since I strongly felt they owed us something, was for
babysitting the kids while we built the business and took it on the
road - inevitably they were gracious enough to step up and give back
by caring for the kids. The best revenge and the greatest therepy is
building on the skills and contacts that you already have and going
out and doing it well.

My diploma still hangs in their workshop, as do many of my
certificates and awards because it really doesn’t matter, they can
never take away the fact that you are gifted, talented and award
winning. People still ask after me, and finally after years of
trying to gain their respect, I finally have it, because I stopped
wanting it and because I was willing to walk away and start over
with nothing but the support of one good man.

My only hope for you is that you already have a friend or partner
who can provide you great moral support at this time; and my advice
is not just to walk away but run hard and do yourself and you son
the favor of building your own business. You will derive far greater
satisfaction from that then you ever will fighting for returns on
your intellectual property and signage removal.

Cheers,
Cynthia Ryder


#14
 Also, my opinion of the legal question (though I am NOT a
lawyer,) is that the 200 designs definitely are your legal
property. YOU owned the copyright when you created to work, unless
you had signed a 'work for hire' agreement with your parents.
    I don't usually disagree with much you say, but I believe in
this case that if she was actually employed by her parents (i.e.
receiving a paycheck from them for her work) that the designs very
definitely belong to her parents. 

Unfortunately in this specific case we can’t get to the for-sure
correct answer without having answers to more questions which is why
both of the above have big qualifiers written into them.
Unfortunately I also suspect that many readers will fail to note
those qualifiers and draw the WRONG general conclusions. While the
first statement suggesting the original poster (OP) “owned the
copyright when they created the work…” is clearly backwards, 180
degrees out of sync with the law, it’s conclusion still may be, but
most likely is not, correctbut we don’t have the facts to KNOW
that and, in fact, the “facts” may only be determinable in court.
Some general rules:

The law writes sound rules—then codifies exceptions.

There are always exceptions to the exceptions.

Copyright and patent law are two separate bodies of law which are
administratively under two different agencies, the US Patent and
Trademark Office and the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress
respectively. These two bodies of law work differently so a principle
applied to one may not be applicable to the other—in fact it may be
the exact opposite. (More on patents in a moment.)

With a PDF reader you can see the entire Copyright law at
http://www.copyright.gov/title17/circ92.pdf (1.4 MB or get smaller
chunks at http://www.copyright.gov/title17/). To quote the first part
of Section 201 “Ownership of copyright (a) Initial
Ownership.=97Copyright in a work protected under this title vests
initially in the author or authors of the work. The authors of a
joint work are coowner of copyright in the work.”

That’s the “sound rule” so on the face of it the creator owns the
copyright—but wait, there’s more!

Continuing to quote from exactly where the above quote left off:
"(b) Works Made for Hire.=97In the case of a work made for hire, the
employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered
the author for purposes of this title,"

That’s the first of the “codified exceptions” so, if, in fact, the
physical creator was working “for hire” (defined in Section 101 “A
’work made for hire’ is–(1) a work prepared by an employee within
the scope of his or her employment;…”) as an employee then the
BUSINESS owns the copyright—but wait, there’s more!!!

Continuing again to quote from Section 201 just where we left off
before: “and, unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise in a
written instrument signed by them, owns all of the rights comprised
in the copyright.”

Bummer, an oral agreement will not suffice to convey any copyright
rights so by the statements made by the OP the OP does not have any
copyright rights which means they don’t even have the right to make
derivative works of their own creations—but wait, there’s more!

While an oral agreement cannot affect copyright rights it certainly
can establish a contractual obligation to pay commissions or
royalties to the benefit of the OP. The catch, of course, is
enforcing an oral agreement. If there are witnesses other than the
involved parties that would be better for the OP but they can always
first try persuasion then maybe arbitration then maybe a law suit
then maybe arbitration (then, of course, maybe back to court if a
judgement against the BUSINESS isn’t paid…)—but wait, there’s
still more!!!

We don’t know what the OP meant by “200 designs” or parties seeking
out pieces of her work specifically because of her piece’s “look.” If
that is 200 pieces or 20,000 pieces replicated from 200 designs where
essentially all have the OP’s distinctive “signature” “look” and
customers do, in fact know the “look” comes from her rather than the
BUSINESS then she may actually own her own trademark and could create
additional (but not duplicate or “derivative”) pieces with her
"signature" “look.” Many state laws would, under the principle that
you cannot deprive a person of their earning power, likely support
such additional pieces. But, all that said, this is clearly a
situation where the services of an EXPERIENCED IP attorney will be
NECESSARY BEFORE proceeding along those lines----and the OP
will have to be willing to go to court if necessary. Without that
willingness “right” makes no difference at all.

When an inventor invents something while working for a corporation
and while being paid for his time to do it, the corporation owns
the patent, not the inventor. 

This is USUALLY correct for patents but NOT due to the LAW. The LAW
explicitly ONLY grants patents to the actual inventors as required
by the US Constitution. Most companies therefore require that anyone
working for them in a product or process creative capacity, by
contract, pre-assign any patents they get (for inventions related to
their company work) to the company. (A number of states have explicit
laws that allow inventors working outside the company and on
inventions not related to the company to own such patents. And there
is some case law on the subject also.) However, even in the absence
of such a pre-assignment agreement the company on whose time and/or
equipment and/or with whose materials are used may still have some
"shop rights" (and perhaps more) in such non-pre-assigned
patents/inventions even though the inventor will retain the patent
rights. “Shop rights” are generally a state law specific concept and
vary from state to state but at the very least likely would permit
the company the right to make and/or use the invention at least
internally without interference from, or compensation to, the
inventor.

 That being said, however, the reality is that, legally, if no
copyrights were applied for it doesn't really matter if she wants
to just go back and duplicate the designs again. 

This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Copyright law.
Copyrights need NOT be “applied” for----they exist WITHOUT
registration the instant a work is in a fixed form. They can be
registered and that registration does give the owner more rights and
power under the law and even more rights and power if the
registration is done within 3 months of “publication” (whatever that
means in the creation/sale of jewelry works).

 It would be highly unlikely that her parents would pursue her
legally anyway if she simply started making all of the designs
again from scratch. 

Probably true. In fact the costs of litigation on such a matter, or
just starting to explore the process, likely would exceed any
possible recovery within the first few hours of planning to go to
court. Undoubtedly that cost/benefit tradeoff is the major reason
most jewelry does not have it’s copyright REGISTERED even though
copyright rights still exist and could be greater with registration.

 I suspect the concept that without true copyright, designs can be
replicated, is going to ruffle a few feathers on Orchid, but I have
recently had extensive legal advice presented to me on this very
topic and unless copyrights were applied for there isn't a whole
lot anyone can do about her decision to replicate her own designs. 

There is no such concept as “true copyright,” only copyright and
registered copyright both of which are real, true, whatever you want
but fully legitimate. The real catch is that without registration you
cannot get statutory damages or attorney’s fees on any infringement
occurring before the registration unless that infringement --and
actual registration – was within 3 months of “publication” (see
Chapter 4).

 However I agree with you and the other respondents that the
problem here is not really copyright or the designs but how to
resolve the more general issues with her parents. 

Likely true—and probably messier than any dealings with copyright
or trademark law. But again there are too many unknowns to give much
specific useful advice. For example was the father (and/or mother)
always this way or is it recent and what caused/causes it? Are there
other family owners besides the parents? What is the businesses legal
structure? I would think the OP should definitely talk to an IP
attorney about the copyright/trademark issues above and more then
make her best decision on how to proceed on those issues either
consistent with or inconsistent with “family mending” actions but
trying to keep the “legal” and “family” as separate as possible.

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of “Will It Sell? How to Determine If
Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a
Patent)” Info Sites: www.willitsell.com www.inventorhome.com,
www.idearights.com www.taletyano.com www.booksforinventors.com


#15

I just want to take a moment to thank all of the wonderful orchid
members that posted and e-mailed me. thankyou all for your input. It
is a very sticky situation that is a hard resolution however I look
at it.

I am going to continue with starting my business…(thanks to all of
you for the support…it’s a scary thing that requires alot of
fortitude and alot of support…thankyou!)

I am also going to send flowers to my parents with a letter that
explains how I feel about the situation with a thankyou for all they
have done for me in the past (thankyou for the suggestion john
henry) and an apology that things have gone so wrong between us and a
hope for the future. (as personal only…I can’t subject myself to
their business quirks)

this should put the ball in their court and the choice is theirs so
I can’t feel guilty about anything. I can only do the best that I
can do with what I have been given!

i can do this on my own! I filled out my tax papers today for the
business. I also have a couple things to get yet, but I should be up
and running by the months end.

i can’t say enough what a supportive and wonderful environment
orchid is. I hope to be of assistance in the future to other
orchidians.

a million thanks to all of you!

julia pottws