Intellectual Property (IP) refers to anything created from thought, any kind of artistic or literary work, in real terms your creative work, designs and ideas. This includes your name and brand.
In October 2014 the Intellectual Property (IP) Act 2014 (UK) was changed to give you more power to legally defend your exclusive right to own the intangible assets of your creative work. In simple terms this act helps protect your registered designs from copying (theft).
Record your Designs
Taking a photo of your design development and sketches, sign and date the pages and take a photo of each page to create a digital record is good practise. Emailing the images to yourself will prove the date you recorded the design. This type of documentation can be used if you later need to prove when you created the design. It is recommended that important designs be registered independently with the ACID (Anti-copying in Design organisation.
- You do not usually own the intellectual property of work created as an employee.
- If you are self employed you automatically own the intellectual property of your work and this includes any designs made to a commission brief, unless you advise you are including the IP rights as part of the contracted works. See the gov.uk link below.
It's a good idea to establish the rights of a design at the beginning of the commission process. This is because the IP ownership is valuable and you may wish to charge for this.
Caution: Selling the IP rights of any design will mean that you cannot create and sell the design again without permission (which may be at a cost) from the new owner of the design IP. This could be a costly mistake if a design has the potential to be a commercially profitable for you in future.
Think you may be a victim of Jewellery Design Copying?
ACID (Anti Copying in Design) is a non-profit membership organisation who particularly specialise in advising creatives how best to legally protect their registered and non-registered designs. In addition it raises awareness and actively promotes respect for intellectual property.
More information about protecting your Intellectual Property can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/intellectual-property-an-overview/protect-your-intellectual-property
The Federation of Small Business offers legal advice to members.
BLOG - About the author
Dawn Meaden-Johnson is the Director and Founder of The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company. She has over 25 years’ experience working in the Jewellery Industry including at Signet Retail Jewellers and almost 10 Years at Birmingham City University School of Jewellery during which time she has worked extensively with national and international clients whilst managing their Short Course Programme project..
A graduate Silversmith of Birmingham School of Jewellery, Dawn still occasionally creates limited edition contemporary jewellery under the brand Dawnstorm, specialising in the use of anodised aluminium in jewellery.
Email Dawn at firstname.lastname@example.org