If you design or make jewelry, whether it’s a hobby or something you’ve turned into a full-fledged business, you probably take great pride in your work and in imagining people wearing and enjoying your creations. The last thing you want is to spend time and resources creating something special only to have someone else sell knock-off versions of your pieces. Unfortunately, if you are not proactive, you won’t have much recourse if that situation occurs.
What are your proactive legal options? Can you patent jewelry? The short answer is “yes.” You can apply for patent jewelry design protection, which covers the way your jewelry looks. In certain limited circumstances, you may also (or alternatively) be able to seek utility patent protection, which gives you legal rights over the way your jewelry functions or is made.
Jewelry Patents: Options for Form and Function
A utility patent may be appropriate if your jewelry design contains some new, non-obvious structure or function. In contrast, if you have a unique ornamental or aesthetic idea for a piece of jewelry, a design patent would protect your jewelry creation’s outward appearance. Most jewelry designers who seek patents choose to patent jewelry design rather than its function.
The processes for obtaining both types of patent protection are similar, although it is typically faster, easier, and less expensive to obtain a design patent than a utility patent. Ultimately, you should file a patent application before going public with or marketing your idea. Disclosing your idea or design too early could mean losing both domestic and international patent rights.
Your filing starts with an application for patent protection with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO.) Before taking this step, however, you should conduct a patent search in an attempt to identify if there are current patents or pending applications for jewelry patents that are similar to your new design or idea. In addition, a patent search can identify if someone else has published a jewelry design or idea like yours in any type of industry publication. If the search turns up such “prior art,” your design idea may have little chance of approval at the USPTO, and it may not make sense to proceed.
The application itself contains various elements, each of which must be included with the filing. These include a preamble, a title, references cited, various views/drawings/photographs of your creation, written descriptions of figures, a written claim summary for your submission, and an executed oath or declaration. When all of these elements have been compiled, you are ready to file your application.
Why Patent Jewelry Designs?
Now you know that you can patent a jewelry design. Let’s ask why might you want to consider doing so? In other words, why are jewelry patents important?
First, obtaining design patent protection would give you the exclusive rights to market, produce, or sell jewelry that looks like your creation. In the case of a utility patent, your rights would prohibit others from marketing, producing, or selling jewelry that functions in the same unique way your jewelry functions. If someone infringes on your patent, your enforceable rights include recovering monetary damages from the infringer.
Patent rights can be powerful in other ways, too. A patent can help you protect market share for your business while creating potential revenue streams. If other companies or independent jewelry creators/sellers want to license your idea, you can enter into agreements under which they would pay you for the rights to make, use, or sell your patented design or function. Once obtained, design patent protection lasts for 15 years.
Bold Patents Can Help You Protect Your Rights in Your Jewelry Designs
Bold Patents helps inventors, entrepreneurs, and others across the country. We provide a variety of patent services, including helping clients obtain jewelry patents and trademarks, and we pride ourselves on offering lean services, unmatched convenience, and transparent pricing. In addition to helping jewelry clients, we work with clients in several other industries to help them protect their intellectual property rights. Industries we serve include software/hardware, medical devices, healthcare, gaming, fitness, electronic devices, business methods, and more.
To learn more about obtaining patent protection for jewelry, schedule your complimentary Discovery Call today!