by Jackie Burke | Featured Contributor
This month was one of the crucial difficult and thrilling months I’ve had as an entrepreneur. I had a quick class in enterprise regulation and realized that I had been burying my head within the sand for too lengthy.
Right here’s the backstory: I launched my firm, Tini Lux, in November 2017. My firm is the primary firm to promote style earrings designed particularly for folks with delicate ears and steel allergic reactions. It has really outlined a brand new class in jewellery. Previous to Tini Lux, earrings got labels like “hypoallergenic” and “nickel free,” each of which have been primarily meaningless as a result of there are various explanation why earrings can reactions. Now, Tini Lux is a go-to, trusted supply for individuals who wish to be 100% certain that their earrings is not going to trigger painful reactions.
Once I launched my enterprise, many nicely that means folks (with out enterprise expertise) advised me that if I couldn’t patent my concept then I’d by no means achieve success. I imagine this delusion comes from watching Shark Tank, the place the Sharks usually ask the entrepreneurs if they’ve a patent on their invention.
My model, whereas progressive and class defining, was not patent-able. That didn’t deter me although. I might record 1000’s of manufacturers that would not have patents which are nonetheless very, very profitable. I knew that the problem was to construct a model and a vacation spot that folks might belief, and if I might do this then the success would comply with (and it has).
What I didn’t notice although, is that though a patent won’t be needed for my firm, there have been different authorized concerns that I used to be ignoring, like copyrights and emblems. This all got here to a head once I came upon that my precise designs have been being offered by one other designer at Nordstrom! When I discovered this out I felt annoyed, disgusted, and violated. I’m an avid follower of Food regimen Prada and The Vogue Regulation had learn many articles about designers being ripped off, however I by no means anticipated it to occur to me.
I did my analysis and realized that from a authorized standpoint what occurred was a copyright infringement. Jewellery designs are thought of art work underneath US copyright regulation. An individual turns into the proprietor of the copyright of authentic art work the second it’s revealed. So, since my designs have been authentic, I technically owned the copyright and each Nordstrom and this different designer have been infringing on it. Though I did personal the copyright technically, as a way to deliver authorized motion in opposition to these different corporations, I wanted to formally register my copyright.
I instantly registered my copyrights for all of my authentic designs and trademarked my enterprise title for my class of products (jewellery). I contacted each corporations with cease-and-desist letters and luckily my copyrighted designs have been eliminated instantly. Though it’s irritating that they profited off of my work, I now really feel extra ready and am extra motivated to proceed my efforts.
Now, on high of being a legally registered LLC, I’ve a registered trademark and copyrights for my authentic work. Hopefully this can deter different potential copy-cats, but when one thing like this occurs sooner or later I’ll now be prepared for motion. I’m additionally selecting to be flattered by one other designed copying me quite than be indignant. In spite of everything, imitation is the sincerest type of flattery.
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