Ceramics

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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nuttyspice
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Ceramics

Post by nuttyspice »

Hi,

I have bought (from a supermarket) a perfect item/form to create a plaster mold of which would be great to slip cast and sell as bisque ware. I have seen this item in different variations available online, shops etc. There are no manufacturers marks. Is there any advise as to any copyright issues?

The item is a glass drinking vessel, and I plan on slip casting it to a night light type product. It will be edited with holes and markings.

Many thanks in advance for any advise.

nuttyspice.
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AndyJ
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Re: Ceramics

Post by AndyJ »

Hi nuttyspice,

The shape and conformation of an item like this would only be protected by copyright if it was a work of artistic craftsmanship, such as a one-off piece of hand-thrown pottery or a sculpture. Anything which has been mass-produced will not be subject to copyright, but it may be protected by design right. Design right comes in two types: registered and unregistered. You can read a bit more about design right here, but in simple terms, that right would be infringed by something which was made to the same or very similar design, provided that the original design was itself sufficiently novel and not copied from an earlier design. The fact that the original is not marked in any way makes it difficult to check to see if the design has been registered. If you have lots of patience it is possible to use the IPO website linked to above to search for previously registered designs based on the submitted drawings. The fact that there are other items of a similar designs available on sale suggests that the design you are interested in may not be protected by design right.
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
nuttyspice
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Re: Ceramics

Post by nuttyspice »

Hi Andy,

Thank you. Your reply is very helpful. The item is a glass light bulb drinking vessel which is sold on Etsy, EBay, Amazon and superstores. There are different designs i.e. different colours, shapes and metal tops and straws. So this particular item may not be protected by design rights?

I will certainly try my patience to seeing if the design is registered to be sure before I have a go at modifying to a night light.

Many thanks!
Caroline
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AndyJ
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Re: Ceramics

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Caroline,

Thanks for the extra detail. This product appears to be made in China. I suspect that a single anonymous factory produces the product and then licences it to multiple sellers who use different brand names. One of the brand names which came up on Amazon was Winomo. I couldn't find the same item on Fruugo or Winomo's AliExpress shop.

A search of the UK Intellectual Property Office website shows no designs registered to that company, but if they are not the manufacturers, that proves nothing, since the design will belong to the manufacturer. Doing a generic search on drinking glass designs produces 1,995 registrations (some of which may no longer be valid as registration needs to be renewed every 5 years), so trawling through that lot might try your patience!

Pragmatically speaking, I think that producing a night light of a similar overall shape but made from a different material would be insufficiently close to the design of the glass to amount to infringement. The test is whether an informed user would get the overall impression that the second (your) item was made to the design of the first (registered) item. In this case that seems unlikely, as the informed user is more likely to assume that the inspiration for your product came directly from a functioning light bulb, not a drinking vessel.
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
nuttyspice
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Re: Ceramics

Post by nuttyspice »

You are a wonderful human being!

Thank you ever so much for your help!

Have a wonderful week!

Best
Caroline
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