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Intellectual Property and the protection jewellery designs

Written by Samuel O'Toole on 07 October 2016

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Intellectual Property can be used to protect designs. This article will focus upon the utilisation of IP for the protection jewellery. 

It is possible to register a design, this will create a registered design right. A registered design can protect the whole or part of a product. This may be the shape, configuration, surface pattern, texture or any other feature or features of a product. Once registered the design will be protected for 25 years, however, renewal fees will be due every 5 years. The benefit of having a registered design is that if you do discover a design that is the same as yours there is no need to prove that the other party has copied you. This is due to the fact that when a registered design right is granted the owner is afforded a monopoly over the design.

Registering your jewellery design may be an obvious way of protection. However, you may already have intellectual property subsiding in your design and as such already have protection. An unregistered design right is an example of this. For example, it may not be necessary to register your design to be afforded protection. If the jewellery design has been recorded in a design document, or if you have an item of the jewellery that has been made from the design there may be an unregistered design right subsiding in these items. However, it should be noted that without dates and records of these design documents it may be hard to prove that another party has copied the design.

Works of artistic craftsmanship are protected by copyright. An item of jewellery will no doubt include skill, time and labour in its creation, these are the pillars of copyright. However, the work must be original for copyright to subsist. It may be enough to sufficiently change or adapt an item to create a new copyright, it is not enough to simply copy an existing work. Copyright is afforded a protection period of 70 years from the authors death, therefore provides a lengthener amount of protection in comparison to design rights.

In the protection of jewellery copyright is probably you biggest friend due to the length of protection. However, as it is not possible to register copyright, keeping a clear document trail that is dated can be worth its weight in gold.  

If you'd like to know more about this article please send an email to Michael Coyle quoting the article title and any questions you might have, alternatively call the office number on 02380 235 979 or send an enquiry through our contact form.

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