Did you know that there are generally three areas of intellectual property law in the United States: Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks? Did you know that 2 out of 3 of these areas of law can work to jewelers’ benefit to protect not only their brands but the individual designs of their jewelry?
Many jewelers are unaware of all of the protections afforded to them under U.S. trademark and copyright laws. As such, the purpose of this paper is to provide a simple overview of the various forms of intellectual property protection available to jewelers and the original works they create.
Types of Intellectual Property Protection Available
- Trademark(s): Trademarks are used to identify the source of the goods or services. For jewelers, trademarks usually protect your name (e.g., Cartier, Tiffany & Co., David Yurman) but may also protect jewelry lines (e.g., Levian) and tag lines or slogans you use to identify your brand (e.g., “A Diamond is Forever”, “Every Kiss Begins with Kay”). A trademark can even protect the color of your packaging, if it well recognized by the consuming public (e.g., Tiffany & Co.’s distinctive blue box).
- Copyright(s): Copyrights protect the original works of artistic expression themselves. Jewelers may receive copyright protection for the designs of their jewelry provided that the designs contain sufficient creativity and artistic expression to be entitled to protection under the Copyright Act.
A Simple Plan for the Protection of Your Rights
- Register Your Trademark(s): First, Register Your Trademark(s). A U.S. federal trademark registration not only will assist you in preventing infringement of your name, lines, tag lines, or slogans but may also provide a critical shield against allegations of infringement by others.
- Register Your Copyright(s): Second, and of critical importance for jewelers who create distinct pieces, Register Your Jewelry Designs as Copyright(s). Get them registered as a Copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Such registrations are valuable to prevent other jewelers from selling unauthorized copies of your designs.
- Monitor for Infringement: Third, you must be vigilant in Monitoring for Infringement of your trademarks and copyrights. You should create a system, or hire a company that specializes in the same, for monitoring trademarks filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, used on the Internet, the registration of domain names, as well as conducting routine searches of internet retailers or other outlets that specialize in the sale of jewelry to make sure infringement of your designs does not occur.
- Enforce Your Rights: When infringement is spotted you must act quickly to stop the same before it impacts your sales and your rights in your copyrights and trademarks. Enforce Your Copyrights and Trademarks. As referenced above, having your trademarks and copyrights registered is a critical step in the protection of your rights. If you have done so, then when infringement is spotted it is typically far easier to stop quickly and affordably. As most internet retailers and web hosts as a whole have policies that preclude the sale of works that infringe on another’s rights or reproduction of the same, if your copyrights and trademarks are registered you can often get the infringing materials removed from online stores of websites within days. If they are not registered there are other options for enforcement, however, they are typically more costly and take more time all the while additional counterfeit goods continue to be sold or reproduced.
So if you are a jeweler it is critical include these steps to make sure that others who admire your works do not wrongfully copy, resell, and profit from the same.
About TTC Business Solutions
TTC Business Solutions is a self-help legal document service that provides business, trademark, and copyright services at our customers’ specific direction. TTC Business Solutions also provides access to attorneys specializing in our customers’ needs when more specialized legal assistance is required. To learn more about TTC Business Solutions visit us online at TTCBusinessSolutions.com or contact us at [email protected].
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