Saturday, 10 November 2012

Protect Your Ideas and Designs - Handmade Business Tip of the Week

Looking after your original designs for your handmade craft.

As a crafter you will have plenty of ideas and designs - some of which you put into practice, make and then sell online. If you're selling online who do you know that these designs aren't being copied?

Well, in all honesty you don't!  However, if you spot a design that you know you created what do you do?

1) When anyone is viewing your product, it's important to advise them that the design is protected from copying. The item is your intellectual property.  The originator of the design owns it, unless they created it whilst being employed to make that design, in which case the employer owns it.  So, if you have a website, why not put a note in the footer to state that your designs are protected and should not be copied. Selling on Etsy / Folksy - put a note at the bottom of each handcrafted item you upload.

2) Keep proof of when you designed the item.  For instance, with my handmade silver jewellery - each photograph I take is dated and I also print the page when it was uploaded online together with full notes of how it was made.  Therefore, the proof of the date is available if it is required.

3) What do you do if you see someone has copied your design?  Send them notification that this is your design and that you have proof and they must desist or pay you a proportion of their sales in commission (the choice is yours).
If they don't respond send another notification to advise that you will take legal action.
If they don't respond to that - then the answer is to carry through with your threat. 
Take a look at this link to the UK Copyright Service which relates specifically to Designs and your rights. Of course every country will be different, but the idea is the same no matter where you live.

Your Handmade Craft and Design Protection

1 comment:

  1. This is a great article Lesley. I have always wondered about jewellery copyright in the UK and how to apply it, thank you.