The long arm of the law, or how well you can afford to police the
marketplace, maybe not all there is to it.
I have faced this dilemma many times over the years, doing tradework
for stores. They are incapable of doing much more than putting their
stock piece in the envelope for me to copy. Half the time it is a
picture clipped out of a magazine, photocopy of catalog picture, etc.
If they had a person or persons on staff, that could design it would
alleviate this type of copying.
When asked to meet with customers in a store, this is the usual way
things begin. The customer has 2 pictures clipped from recent mall
store flyers. There is a ring in the case they sort of like. I have
an inch and a half of wedding ring pictures, sketchpad, templates,
and the platinum book. I spend, on average, forty five minutes with
the customer. When finished I know exactly what they want. I have
measurements and a drawing. I have not copied nor intended to copy
anyones’ work. I tell customers to copy denies the probability that
they could be happy with something designed solely for them., As a
competent jeweler,I ask that they allow the design and interview
process to develop a design that is only theirs. Please get copying
already done work, out of your mind! If that doesn’t work and they
still want to copy a design hopefully I have the relationship with
the store to tell their customers to support the maker and buy the
piece they were going to copy!
I haven’t addressed the larger scale of big money and bigger lawyers.
That is ethics in business too; however large or small. In closing
I’ll say this, customers are by far more impressed to see the extra
effort it took you to serve their needs without copying work. Yes,
that does increase word of mouth advertising!