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   Jewelry Copying problem- how can i protect my desi
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Jill Bailey
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Jewelry Copying problem- how can i protect my desi
« on: Jun 10th, 2006, 2:28am »
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I started creating vintage style jewelry this year and started selling on ebay and on my site. On my site I have the whole disclaimer that the designs are mine, and that they cannot be reproduced. I noticed 2 girls selling copies (bad copies) of my pieces - some with my descriptions, jewelry card back grounds and photos.
 
Is there a way i can protect my collection? I have a catalog of 2000 items coming out- and i dont want to make life easier for them. What it comes down to - is that they dont have creativity, or design skills...
 
Can i create a copyright to protect an entire collection - EX: J Bailey Summer 2006 Collection  
which will protect all of the pieces under that description?
 
Any advice would be so helpful.
 
warmest regards,
J Bailey
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RMissimer
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Re: Jewelry Copying problem- how can i protect my
« Reply #1 on: Jun 11th, 2006, 10:49am »
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I must start by saying I am not an attorney, nor do I represent myself as one.  (Standard disclosure of a law student, right).  
 
Copy right does not need to be filed to exist.  To sue, one must have filed for a copyright before the court filings.  So, for the copies, file, and sue.  That simple.
 
Be advised though,  you need to have some level of proof that they were aware of your design before they created theirs.  Copyright protection is not exclusive.  If they did not base their work on yours,  then they have not infringed.  Without proof that they copied, if gets more expensive to litigate, but it is possible.
 
Summary...  If you believe that they copied your work,  file for copyright protection,  and send them a warning letter, after consulting with a copyright attorney.
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RS Missimer
Patents Penned, Inc.
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JSonnabend
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Re: Jewelry Copying problem- how can i protect my
« Reply #2 on: Jun 12th, 2006, 7:36am »
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Quote:
To sue, one must have filed for a copyright before the court filings.  So, for the copies, file, and sue.  That simple.

That's dangerously misleading.  In many jurisdications (if not most), merely filing for registration is not sufficient to commence an action; you must actually receive your certificate of registration first.  Thus, the "don't file until you want to sue" approach may have significant downside in terms of time (and cost if you expedite your application).  
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
Intellectual Property and Technology Law
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Isaac
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Re: Jewelry Copying problem- how can i protect my
« Reply #3 on: Jun 12th, 2006, 9:43am »
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on Jun 11th, 2006, 10:49am, RMissimer wrote:
Without proof that they copied, if gets more expensive to litigate, but it is possible.

 
Without proof of copying, the described infringement could not be successfully litigated.   Period.  
 
Copying is almost never proved with direct evidence.  Instead evidence is offered to show that the defendant had access to the alleged original (as you suggested) and that the similarities between the original and the alleged copy are such that copying is the most likely explanation.    
 
The defendant in turn can rebut the inference of copying in a number of ways, or can offer affirmative defenses such as fair use.  
 
In addition to Jeff's caveat, there is also the issue that forgoing registration until  infringement happens can cost you the right to sue for statutory damages.   In a situation involving infringers who do not keep records, an accounting for real damages might be unobtainable.  
 
One thing that crossed my mind while reading the original post is that the OP says they are creating "vintage style jewelry".   Vintage sounds like the antithesis of "original".    To the extend that artisitic elements are copied from older designs, those elements might not be protectable by the OP.  
 
 
 
 
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Isaac
RMissimer
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Re: Jewelry Copying problem- how can i protect my
« Reply #4 on: Jun 12th, 2006, 1:00pm »
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Response from a filing doesn't take all that long.  It will be a lot faster than the back and forth negotiations prior to litigation.  So, I stand on my comment.
 
As for proof of copying.  I have seen locally here, several litigations that were based soley on contact with the other party.  One of the cases, they artist gave a copy to a printing company, and they out right stole the work.  That was a fast settlement.  The artist filed, and then threatened to sue.   So, again I stand on my comment.
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RS Missimer
Patents Penned, Inc.
PO Box 486
Butler, WI 53007-0486
(262) 565-8200
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