Cufflinks

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Staticbuddha
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Cufflinks

Post by Staticbuddha » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:40 am

Hi

I am starting up a Cufflinks business and have a few questions to make sure im not going to do anything illegal.

It more down to the design of my cufflinks and thank you in advance for any light you maybe able to shed.

My questions are:

1) I would like to use bottle tops as cufflinks, ie take a bottle top from a stella bottle and stick a piece of metal onto the back of it to turn it into a cufflink. ?

2) If I purchase royalty free images for example a horse can I then put this into a cufflink. ?

3) If I buy objects such as a novelty button like a football and turn this into a cufflink. ?

4) If I put collage images in cufflinks. ?

Thanks again for your help and clarification :)

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:24 pm

Hi staticbuddha,
It is worth prefacing my comments with the general statement that before embarking on any business venture, it is worth getting some specific legal advice on your business plan. That said, I can start the ball rolling:

1. Bottle Caps. If you are merely re-using bottle caps in the way you mention, then there are no copyright issues because nothing is being copied. You are just re-using the original item. But there may be trade mark and / or passing off issues to consider, if the owners of the Stella brand feel that you are attempting to trade on their good reputation, or are misleading the public into thinking that they endorse your product. That said I think you should be able to come to a mutually acceptable agreement with Stella (AB Inbev UK) because you will be providing advertising for them.

2. Royalty Free Images. Make sure you understand what this term means. In most contexts, it will not mean you can freely use the image for commercial purposes, but the terms and conditions of each source should explain what their licence allows. Assuming that you comply with the terms, then you will have a licence to use the image without infringing copyright.

3. Novelty Shapes. I assume you will not be manufacturing these shapes yourself, but buying them in from an external supplier. If so there should be no Intellectual Property issues such as copyright, trade mark or design right. Make sure that the contract with your supplier indemnifies you against third party IP claims.

4. Collages. This is the trickiest area. You don't say what source you will use for the images, or indeed if it will be you who makes the collages. However assuming the images that make up the collage are in copyright (which seems likely) then a collage made from them is called a derivative work and needs the permission of all the original copyright owners. The only time this would not apply was if the part of the original which you use is considered insubstantial. Deciding this issue is fraught with difficulty, because it involves whether the 'essence' of the original has been copied, rather than looking at it in percentage terms. On the other hand if you make up all the image yourself prior to creating the collage, then that should not pose any copyright issues.

You might also want to think about protecting your own intellectual property. It is easy to overlook that the designs of your products will themselves be intellectual property. You can protect your designs by taking advantage of Registered Design Right, via the UK Intellectual Property Office, who should also be able to advise you if any of your intended designs have already been registered. If the cost of RDR is too high, you can rely on unregistered Design Right. This is automatic (like copyright) when you create a design, but you need to ensure the design is recorded in design document (for example on paper, or a saved computer aided design file) along with the date of creation. UDR lasts for 10 years from the end of the year in which the article made from the design first went on sale to the public.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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