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Copyright Question

Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:59 pm
by Diamond321
Hi There

I was wandering of someone could help me please with respect to an question around Copyright.

I was inspired by another Jewellery Designers tag (size, shape, style and finish), therefore I sent a photograph of the other designers tag onto the designer and said I would like to copy the same tag. However, the tag dimensions are not the same, i.e., length/height/depth are all different and my own tags will bear a different company name and different font style.

Will this be classed as Copyright? If you could answer via here and inbox me please as I have found some information on the web that I would like you to read over please.

Also, where would I look to see if the other designer's tag has been registered?

You can also purchase these tags blank from Wholesalers to stamp yourself?

Thanks in advance.

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:30 am
by AndyJ
Hi Diamond,

Until I read your post, I would have assumed a jewellery tag was something made of thin card which was affixed to a piece of jewellery to display the price!

As most jewellery is handcrafted, it can be covered by copyright as items of artistic craftsmanship, provided it has sufficient originality*. However my (now) understanding of what a tag is leads me to think that it is no more than blank, undecorated piece of metal, possibly machine-stamped out a sheet of the same metal. If that is right then I can't see it having sufficient originality or the element of craftsmanship at that intermediate stage to qualify for copyright until something more specific has been added.

However you seem to imply that there is something special about these particular tags, and so that of course may constitute the necessary originality. And you want to produce something similar but with different dimensions, If the shape involved is a simple one, say a regular geometric shape like an octagon, or the shape of something found in nature, such as a leaf, then I don't think there can be any objection to you using the same shape, because both are commonplace. However if the other designer's tag is truly unique as far as you know and virtually a finished product just based on its shape, then I think you would need to get permission before copying it.

The second aspect to consider is design right. This can also protect the shape and appearance of a product. It comes in two forms, registered and unregistered. As you might imagine, the registered form provides more protection than the unregistered variety. You can read more about design right on the IPO website, and using their online search facility, you can also look to see if this tag has been registered as a design. Jewellery appears in Class 11, sub class 01. It helps that you already know the name of the designer.

* As I know next to nothing about the jewellery design business, I can't really say where the boundaries for originality in jewellery design may lie. Every area of artistic endeavour has its own, usually unwritten, norms of what is commonplace and accepted as being open to be copied, and what is 'unique'. At times the courts become involved (although they prefer not to), and when they do they tend to invite expert witnesses to provide evidence about how a particular industry operates. For example when deciding if a new design infringes an existing design, the court looks at the issue from the position of an 'informed user'. So for instance this would not be a member of the public who occasionally buys some jewellery, but someone like a buyer for a large department store who keeps abreast of the market and reads the trade press etc.

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:00 am
by Diamond321
Dear Andy

Many Thanks for your prompt reply, it is much appreciated.

The tag is rectangle and shiny - there are no other particular characteristics. Similar to the finish on a Plain Sterling Silver Jewellery Charm that you would purchase from a high street Jewellers.

The tags are cast and made by a Jewellery Casting Company bearing the Company Name.

You can however, also purchase the blank tags in bulk to hand stamp numbers/letters and names from many Jewellery Finding Companies all over the world.

I will follow your advice and see if anything is registered, although I read somewhere that you no longer have to register your designs as they will now automatically be covered.

Many Thanks once again for your help.