There’s never been a more exciting time for individuals who design their own jewelry.
However, in the fast-paced and competitive market of designing jewelry how can we protect our designs?
Patents have been used for generations as a way to establish a legal claim to a particular design or invention.
Many jewelry designers wonder if patents can work for them.
Yes. You can patent jewelry.
However, there are a few things we need to take a look at before we can start patenting jewelry designs.
Let’s take a look at the ins-and-outs of pending jewelry.
What is a Patent and What Does it Do?
A patent is a special type of legal document that gives an individual the exclusive rights to produce a particular good for a given period of time.
Patents typically cover new inventions and new products.
A patent won’t prevent other individuals or companies from replicating the products that have been patented, but it will create a legal precedent that allows individuals to stop others from making their patented creation.
In recent years, jewelry design has become an even more popular career.
As online marketplaces have opened up, new opportunities have popped up for individuals looking to design their own jewelry.
This leads us to one of today’s most common questions for jewelry designers.
Can you patent jewelry?
How Can You Patent Jewelry?
Yes, you can patent jewelry designs.
There are a few specifics we need to go over in order to understand how these patents work and what they cover.
The first thing that we need to talk about is the fact that you can’t patent the design itself.
Rather, you can patent a design only once it’s been applied to a physical, real world, object.
What does this mean?
This means that if you’ve only sketched out your design you’ll need to take it a step further before you can apply for the patent.
You’ll need to make the piece of jewelry in question in order to patent the design.
This shouldn’t be a very big issue as most independent jewelers create many of their own designs in-house.
Another thing that we need to consider is what can be patented and what can’t be patented.
What Types of Jewelry Can You Patent?
You can patent nearly any type of jewelry out there.
Whether you’re designing necklaces or making affordable rings for men, you can patent your jewelry design so long as it needs a list of criteria.
The first thing you need to do is make sure that the jewelry design is not already patented by another individual or company.
You cannot claim a patent on a jewelry design that has already been patented by someone else.
If your design is not yet claimed, you can apply for a patent.
Your jewelry also has to be unique.
If the design is too common, your patent might get rejected.
This is designed to stop individuals from patenting overly simplistic ideas that have too far of a reach.
You also need to have made a unique, creative design in order to claim the patent.
You cannot patent a design that was developed and created by someone else.
This is why you should perform a patent search before filing for your own patent.
A patent search allows you to find all the other types of jewelry that have been patented and find out whether or not your design has already been filed for.
Here’s a recap of what types of jewelry can be patented:
- Original designs
- Not already patented
- Created by the individual filing the patent
There are a few times where you should skip the patent process altogether.
When Should You Not File a Patent?
While a patent might sound like a great idea for protecting your investment into your jewelry business, it’s not always worth the time and the money to file for a patent.
The first thing that we need to consider is that patents cost money.
While you are able to file a patent on your own, it’s highly recommended by industry professionals that you seek out a patent attorney to help you with the process.
Patent attorneys know the ins-and-outs of filing these particular legal documents and how to defend them.
They can make sure that you set yours up in a successful way that allows you to make use of it throughout your career selling jewelry.
However, it can cost several thousand dollars to hire a qualified patent attorney to cover you through this whole process.
Many smaller businesses might be better off just risking it without the patent rather than taking on this additional cost.
Jewelry making is also a very large field with plenty of different styles and traditions within its scope.
This includes plenty of individuals who are making folk and popular jewelry.
These designs might not be able to be patented as they have been around for generations without a patent already applied to them.
They might be considered in the public domain or as part of existing folk traditions that cannot have a patent applied to them.
Another thing to consider is that the jewelry that you might be looking to patent might not be unique enough to qualify.
Patents are applied to designs that are very unique and departures from what people are used to.
A given jewelry design might be very commercially successful, but it also might not be distinct enough to qualify for its own patent.
Now we’ve gone over the ins-and-outs of patenting jewelry, let’s talk about what it takes to file for one of these patents.
How to Patent Jewelry
Here are the steps you need to take to patent your jewelry.
Timing is critical when it comes to filing your patent.
Typically, you have one year from disclosing the existence of your unique design to file your patent.
This disclosure can be anything from revealing your design in an advertisement to selling it.
If you want to play it safe, keep your design a secret until your patent has been successfully completed.
The Patent Search
The next step is to perform a patent search.
This will let you see if your jewelry design has already been patented or if it’s currently available to be patented.
You can hire a professional to help you perform the search process quicker and easier.
If this is your first time patenting jewelry, you’ll want to find an attorney that specializes in filing patents.
You might even be able to find an attorney who is familiar with working in the jewelry industry.
This professional will help you navigate this complicated process for the first time.
Designs and Drawings
You’ve probably seen patent drawings in history textbooks or documentaries.
These drawings are legally required as part of your patent application.
The drawings also must be done to certain standards.
You can hire a professional to complete these technical drawings for you for a fee.
Here’s where we really get going.
Now that you’ve got your attorney and your technical drawings ready, you can fill out your patent application.
Just like with any legal paperwork, this can get complicated really fast.
That’s why we recommend having an attorney by your side for your first time going through the patent process.
Once your application is complete, you need to submit it.
Communicating With the Examiner
Every new application that goes into the patent office is handled by a patent examiner.
This professional looks at your documentation and makes sure that your patent meets the requirements in order to be filed.
This individual might also contact you with questions about your patent or your design.
It’s always in your best interests to respond to the patent examiner as quickly as possible in order to make sure your application keeps moving through the system.
Track Your Status
All patents are assigned a serial number once they enter the system.
You’ll be able to use this number to track the status of your patent and make sure that the patent office doesn’t require any further information.
Now you just need to kick back and wait until your patent is filed.
Your New Jewelry Patent
Now your brand-new jewelry design is protected by law and you can defend your place in the jewelry market in court if you need to.
A Patent can be a great way for an individual to lay claim to their place in the jewelry industry.