Cease and Desist Letters
Steps To Take When Someone Copies Your Jewelry Design
- Take or obtain good pictures of the copies.
- Contact a friend or acquaintance who can buy the jewelry (and make sure a receipt is obtained).
- Do not buy it yourself to prove copying, because people might not believe you, since you have an interest in proving copying.
- Do not attempt to resolve the dispute yourself. That could lead to statements by you to the infringer and lead him to think you are not as committed to stop him as you should be. All of this information may hurt you in ways you may not anticipate.
- Speak to a lawyer with experience in copyrights and patents on jewelry and show him/her the picture of the infringing item(s) and your piece(s) and see what he or she says. If he/she thinks it is infringing and you already have a patent, design patent or copyright, ask him/her whether it infringes the copyright or patent. If he/she believes it is infringing, then have him/her prepare a cease-and-desist letter and send out the letter. Make sure it describes the infringement in detail and the information needed, including number of items sold, number of items bought, invoices, customer lists and suppliers, and that it demands the infringer stop.
- If you do not have a patent or copyright, then have the attorney determine which is better for you to obtain, a patent or a copyright. A patent may provide better coverage than a copyright, but takes a lot longer to obtain. A copyright takes about 6-9 months to get and, if you pay to expedite it, you can obtain the copyright registration in 2-3 weeks.
- Be careful that you accurately state the date of first publication, and under the new rules of the Copyright Office, you may have to register each piece separately (make sure you speak to an attorney who understands copyrights and patents for jewelry).
- After you send out the cease-and-desist letter, be prepared to follow up with another letter if you have received no answer or if you have not received a satisfactory answer, and if necessary, institute a lawsuit. Always bear in mind that you do not want your design copied without your permission. It is a design you worked hard to create.