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Protecting your designs

Hi there,

Just wondering how to protect my designs both in Europe and the US.
Is there a simple way of doing it? Photographing each piece from
many angles adding all detail in text with date of creation and my
signature and then posting it to myself via the post office. Is this
one way of doing it ?

I would love to know more. I am sure most jewelers have to face this
subject at some stage in their careers. I would love to hear from
those who have knowledge in this area.

Thank you so much for reading my post. I look forward to hearing from
those of you who feel they have something of value to add.

Best wishes
In Dublin, Ireland

My joke has been that either my designs would be copied and be made
by the thousands or they wouldn’t. Either way, I couldn’t stand it.


Just wondering how to protect my designs both in Europe and the

There is only one way to “protect” your designs completely–never
produce them, keep them in your head only. It’s very effective and a
lot of people do it—then regret it since they never make a dime
either. The second way and the only way if you do produce them is to
make it darn clear to everyone that you WILL start with a legal
cease-and-desist letter that you will efficiently follow up with a
full lawsuit. Show any alleged copier you have the money to outlast
them in court at the very least.

Do be aware that you do own a copyright in your designs the instant
they are in fixed form. No paperwork at all required. Proper marking
is generally required. If you want to sue then you will need to do
the Copyright registration in your own home country in some manner of
timely fashion. Best is usually shortly after you have them in fixed
form and long before you discover the copy. You do have to prove the
alleged copy is a copy–generally no amount of pictures is likely
to constitute proof. Others who come up with the same design, or
already have, own a copyright in the very same design too. For more
see my website.

Do most jewelers bother? No! Do some? Certainly.

James E. White

Tina, Not to be a downer but, I don’t think you really can
effectively protect your designs. Not unless you never show them to
anyone…that would work. Better to just keep ahead of the knock off
artists and continually produce new work. The effort and expense of
fighting those who steal your stuff is more than most are willing or
able to do, no matter what you do to document or copyright the work.

Hi Tina,

Unfortunately as soon as you put your designs out there, they’re up
for grabs.

Domestically you can do something, but internationally you’ll come
across difficulty. Troll vs. Pandora for example (sorry if this is a
sore point for anyone, but it’s a very good example).

You can pay money (a substantial sum of money) to protect your
designs, but unfortunately there are some countries that don’t give a
tinkers cuss and will take your design regardless of whether the
design is protected or not.

What you can do is make sure you’re first. Make your product as
visible as possible, stating that you created these designs, and be
know as first creating them.

Unfortunately if someone wants to copy what you do, internationally
you can’t do much to protect it.

Sorry for the bummer :frowning:

The upside is that you “could” feel flattered that someone thought
your designs exceptional enough to steal :-\

Regards Charles A.

The upside is that you "could" feel flattered that someone thought
your designs exceptional enough to steal :-\ 

Well, first off my feeling is that some folks spend an inordinate
amount of energy trying to protect designs out of some sort of
ingrained defensive mechanism. “It’s MINE, all MINE” sort of thing.
Sure, whatever floats yer boat. Personally I don’t lose much sleep
over it. If I was Tiffany and had lawyers and a huge exposure, it
would be different, no doubt. I just make another one, something
copycats can’t do.

More to the point - maybe there was a point in time when a “poor
man’s copyright” was a valid thing, like the 19th century. Mailing
yourself a letter with pictures in it just costs you the postage,
nowadays. It’s not valid for anything legal, don’t waste your time.
Take a digital picture, which will have a date stamp inbedded in it.
Even that could be disputed, I guess, but it’s a start. Show it to
your friends, so you have witnesses.