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Original Post

Michelle says

www.ipo.gov.uk/

I'm guessing most of you may know about this, but here's a link in case you don't. It's something i've been thinking a lot about recently...the best way to prove copyright! I know a lot of people just take pictures of their items and post them back to themselves as proof of copyright. Do you think this is enough our should you go further to protect your designs? I'd appreciate your thoughts.

CF

Posted at 12:06pm Jun 27, 2012 EDT

Responses

Hi everyone! My long suffering husband is an IP lawyer is I can ask him tonight what he thinks and post back!

Posted at 12:39pm Jun 27, 2012 EDT

I haven't forgotten to do this, will post back I promise. Just need to find a time to talk to him about it when it isn't boring....snooze...:)

Posted at 9:42am Jun 29, 2012 EDT

Michelle says

haha!!! No worries!! :)

Posted at 4:20pm Jun 29, 2012 EDT

I haven't forgotten about this - my husband has now given me a huge IP document to read through and pick out the relevant info for you all....great, can't wait. Was kind of hoping he would do that for me....So it is on it's way or if you want to give me your email addresses I can just email the document to you so you can refer to it and let me know if you have any specific questions and I can pick his brain?

Posted at 4:15am Jul 31, 2012 EDT

Michelle says

Oh gosh!!! Please don't worry about going to the trouble to do all that I just thought I would throw this out there and bounce some ideas around. I guess if I have just one question it would be whether it is enough to print your designs and post them back to yourself as proof that you created the original design or concept? Don't take the fun out of arts and crafts by trawling through huge documents! I'm sure I can find this stuff out for myself if I can be bothered to do enough research! xx

Posted at 4:58pm Aug 5, 2012 EDT

I have recently found on etsy 3 stores that are selling unauthorised copies of my original decal designs (that I created from scratch - I'm a graphic designer). I have politely asked them to remove them, 2 out of the 3 have done so. The remaining store is refusing to remove their decals as they say that etsy has told them that they are only similar not the same. The decal is 98% my design, the only difference being that they've changed the font used...

Can anyone help me with any suggestions on what to do next? Thanks in advance :)

Posted at 9:13am Nov 21, 2012 EST

Hi Adriana, so sorry to hear that you are having trouble with copying. I had a word with my husband about this as he is an IP lawyer and he said to take the following steps:

1) Firstly, contact Etsy yourself to see if you can verify whether what the seller is saying is correct. They may not be telling the truth in which case Etsy may ask them to remove the items. If Etsy has said that they are only similar, there is no harm in challenging this.

2) If this does not work my husband suggested that you message the other seller again saying that if they do not remove the items you will refer the matter to a lawyer, and if it is found that the items the other person is selling infringe your rights you will seek to recover your legal costs from them along with any damages. This may scare them into removing them.

3) The final step unfortunately will be to consult a lawyer. They will send what is known as a cease and desist letter to the other seller. You could do this with help from internet guides/citizens advice etc but having the letter come from a lawyer is far more effective in my experience (I was an evil lawyer before packing it in to stay at home with my kids!) than a letter from an individual as then they know that you mean business! 9 times out of 10 this is effective if copying has taken place. My husband said that your designs will have protection from copyright and possibly unregistered design right so you do not have to have taken any particular steps to seek protection, it is just a case of evidencing when you came up with the designs etc.

Please bear in mind though that there may be jurisdiction issues if the seller is not based in the UK, and also just because you are entitled to seek to recover your costs from the other-side if copying is established this sadly does not always mean that you will get them. I have seen clients get costs orders that are pretty much worthless as the other party is skint! I'm not saying this to scare you, I just don't want to give a false impression of these things being easy. Hopefully if the other party has copied your designs one of the above steps will be enough to scare them into removing them from sale. If they do, I would also check they aren't selling them through another outlet apart from Etsy.

My husband said that he would be happy to give you some initial advice and a cost estimate if it becomes necessary to take legal action - but I really don't want you to think I am touting for business for him! If anything, I would say he is too expensive as he acts for large commercial entities and sports teams but he maybe able to recommend someone who is cheaper than him at another firm or even give you an initial view as to whether it is worth pursuing. If you would like to contact him just message me and I will give you his details.

Really hope that you can get the items removed, these things are so disheartening.

Rosie x

Posted at 11:04am Nov 22, 2012 EST

Thank you so much Rosie!! I'm going to print out your post (say thanks to hubby too :) I'm going to contact Etsy next - they have a whole IP infringement form you can fill in and see what happens from there.

Posted at 1:02pm Nov 22, 2012 EST

Hope it gets sorted easily, if you need anymore help you know where I am! X

Posted at 4:35am Nov 23, 2012 EST