Stripes on a Mug

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Mugman
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Stripes on a Mug

Post by Mugman » Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:59 pm

Hi,
What a useful site and I’ve questions already.

Regarding stripes on a mug and striped Cornishware mugs, what are the rules regarding doing a similar design, are all stripes going around a mug copyright or number of stripes, color ? Or does non of this matter if the mug etc doesn’t bare the manufacturers trademark underneath ?
Basically are similar striped mugs a infringement ?
It almost like having a copyright on vehicles with 4 wheels ?

Advice appreciated, I don’t to make fakebitems and pass them off as original, just find it surprising how such a simple design can be protected.

If you are unsure what I mean please google TG Green Cornishware mug please.

Thank you

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AndyJ
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Re: Stripes on a Mug

Post by AndyJ » Fri Nov 23, 2018 4:12 pm

Hi Mugman,

There are three possible areas of intellectual property which might apply here.

Copyright. Any artistic work which is sufficiently original can be protected by copyright, and this would certainly apply to many designs found on pottery and chinaware. However, the horizontal stripes of the sort you mention would seem to lack any originality. And even if it was once original (in the copyright sense), since the range was first designed in 1924, it is doubtful whether any copyright which might have once existed continues to this day. All in all I would say that copyright is not likely to be an issue here.

Trade Marks. As the TG Greeen website indicates, the word 'Cornishware' is a registered trade mark which is owned by the company. In all, the company has three registered marks, but none feature the design used on their products. In view of the word cornishware being registered, you will need to to avoid using any thing similar (eg cornish ware) in connection with any mugs you want to sell. But that is the extent of the 'threat' posed by trade marks.

And lastly, registered Design Right can be used to protect the outward appearance of a product, provided that certain criteria are met. You can read about the criteria here. However it doesn't appear that the banded pattern has been registered, which is perhaps not surprising since I think that it would be hard for it to meet a similar originality test to that which would apply for copyright. Also since there doesn't seem to be anything particularly distinctive about the design of the mugs themselves, the strength of any claim to design right based solely on the configuration of the colours would be extremely dubious.

So, as long as you are not attempting, as you say, to pass your design off as Cornishware, then you shouldn't run into any problems producing your own mugs with horizontal stripes on them.

While it doesn't involve stripes, you may find this particular case from about three years ago of interest, as it involves a dispute over the pattern designs on tableware, and whether or not they were copied: Bodo Sperlein Ltd v Sabichi Ltd [2015] EWHC 1242 (IPEC).
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

Mugman
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Re: Stripes on a Mug

Post by Mugman » Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:40 am

Hi Andy,
Thank you very much for that info, we sell striped mugs in our shop tbh,we’ve never passed them off as cornishware, they have no stamps etc claiming to be so, we buy them off a third party and a local know it all emailed us an absolute load of rubbish after seeing them so wanted another opinion.

Here’s the email, I’ve stopped selling them tbh, but would love to commission a similar mug that creates no hassle .




Hello

Following our conversation earlier in regards the trademark & copyright of Cornish Ware, you might find these useful:

Trademark: https://www.trademarkia.com/wipo/cornis ... 006807.htm

New 'Made in England' Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJP8X6k62Io

Companies House: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06623258

I would strongly recommend to whoever is making these to stop and any stock destroyed.

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AndyJ
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Re: Stripes on a Mug

Post by AndyJ » Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:57 am

Hi Mugman,

Yes, I think a load of rubbish about summarises that mail. The second and third links have absolutely no relevance to intellectual property rights and the first is a word mark which I have already covered. Since you are (or were) not describing the items you sold as Cornishware or Cornish Blue, then there are no trade mark implications.
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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Re: Stripes on a Mug

Post by Mugman » Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:41 am

Hi Andy,

Thank you very much once again for taking the time to answer this, tbh its lucky to sell two of these mugs a week but when almost being dictated to by such a complete idiot it gives me great pleasure being able to continue to create them, I’ll get the design changed slightly anyway to keep my concerned buyer happy but the thought that copyright dictates that simple stripes wrapped around a mug cannot be done by anyone else seems mad, as my friend stated, it’s like Ford originally having all rights to a 4 wheeled vehicle and everyone else having to use something totally different.

AgaiThank you 👍

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