We are delighted to have Ronna Lugosch, designer and owner of Peapod Jewelry, contribute to our blog. Her unique designs can be found at her gallery at 40 US Rte. 1 Edgecomb, Maine. You can also connect with her via Facebook.
Here’s the deal, you may never need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you did. Sounds a lot like insurance? Well in many ways it is. Here is my story.
Several years ago a colleague called me and asked me if a particular manufacturer was licensing one of my most popular designs. My answer was no and I immediately went to the website of this company and saw my design (or what I considered a knockoff of it) featured for sale. I felt sick to my stomach when I saw this because this was a multi-million dollar company meaning they had deep pockets and a legion of lawyers.
Fortunately when I designed this piece of jewelry I immediately sent off for a registration from the United States Copyright Office which at the time only cost $20.00 ($40.00 today). Just like purchasing insurance, timing is important. Don’t wait until it is too late. In this case the infringing company received a registered copyright several years later*. Since my design was registered prior, this gave my attorney a lot to work with. Many issues came into play as the case dragged on for two years. But in the end when the case was settled out of court I knew that my dated registration with the US Copyright Office had been my best form of insurance.
*The copyright office does not do a search for similar or infringing designs before issuing a registration.