Can You Patent Jewelry?
If you’ve been working on your new jewelry design and you’ve finally added the finishing touches to it, you’re probably wondering if you can patent your new design?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows inventors to patent their new inventions, processes, and designs for a limited period of time. During this time, the patent holder is able to restrict others from making, using, selling, or offering to sell the patented design for a limited period of time. In the case of design patents, you’ll enjoy a 15-year patent term that begins when the patent office grants your design patent application.
Can You Patent Jewelry?
The short answer is yes, you can patent jewelry. To patent a jewelry design, your design must be applied to a physical object. Patenting the design of your jewelry product protects the aesthetic appearance of the design, such as the ornamental aspect of an item of jewelry.
The process for applying for a design patent to protect the appearance of an item of jewelry takes between 16 months to 24 months, depending on the complexity of the design and how well you prepare your design patent application.
Patenting the design of your jewelry give yous intellectual property rights in your design, allowing you to restrict others from using, making, selling, or offering to sell an article of jewelry that’s similar to the one you’ve patented.
If you have a jewelry design that’s popular and commercially successful, you will be able to profit from your design for a limited period of time without having to worry about competitors making the same design.
If one of your competitors copies your design without your express permission, you will be able to sue them for patent infringement and stop them from selling the item that infringes upon your design.
How to Patent Jewelry?
- Perform a Patent Search
Before deciding to patent a piece of jewelry that has a new design, you should perform a design patent search with the USPTO to determine that no one else has already patented the jewelry design that you want to protect with a patent.
If you do not know how to perform a patent search, you can hire an attorney to perform the search for you. Just know that an attorney will charge you for this service.
- Hire an Attorney
If you don’t have experience preparing and filing design patent applications to patent your jewelry, it might be a good idea to hire a patent attorney to prepare and file a design patent application for your piece of jewelry.
If you decide to prepare and file your design patent application alone, you will find previously published patents helpful in that you can see what terminology and how others before you have patented their new jewelry designs.
- Prepare your Design Patent Application
Once you’ve determined that no prior art exists for the item of jewelry that you want to patent, you can go ahead and begin preparing your design patent application. Just remember to follow the rules set forth by the USPTO because making even seemingly minor mistakes could get your design patent application rejected by the patent office, costing you more time and money to fix mistakes.
- Design Patent Artwork
Every design patent application must include drawings of the jewelry design that you want to patent. The artwork must be done in black inc on white paper and must be done according to the USPTO’s rules. If you don’t have experience creating drawings for design patent applications, you can hire a professional artist who specializes in patent office drawings, expect to pay between $50 to $100 per drawing. Your application may require up to 7 drawings. So, keep this in mind.
- Communicate with your Patent Examiner
After filing your design patent application for your jewelry design, the patent office or patent examiner may attempt to contact you regarding your patent application. Make sure that you have your design patent serial number, as well as the title of your design patent readily available because they may require this to discuss your patent application.
Always respond or have your attorney respond to any communications or requests for information from the patent office. The patent examiner may need some additional information or may require amendments to your patent application, failing to reply to these notices may get your patent application rejected.
- Make Any Necessary Amendments
If the patent office or patent examiner requests that you make amendments to your patent application, make sure that you perform the amendments or changes within the allotted time. Failing to make the changes can get your application rejected.
- Track the Status of Your Application
Once you have filed your patent application with the USPTO, your application will be assigned a serial number, you should periodically check the status of your application using the USPTO website. This way, you’ll know if the patent office needs any additional information.
Why are Jewelry Patents Important?
Patenting your new jewelry design is important because it allows you to exclusively benefit and profit from your jewelry design. If a party infringes upon your design patent by copying, using, selling, or offering to sell an item of jewelry that’s similar to the one you’ve patented, you will be able to stop them from doing so by suing them for patent infringement.
Just remember that the USPTO will not police your jewelry patent for you. Instead, you will have to monitor your competitors to ensure that they’re not selling an article of jewelry that’s the same or similar to yours. If you determine that someone is copying your design, you can enforce your rights by suing them for patent infringement. If your suit is successful, you will be able to get a court order, ordering them to stop their infringing activities.
Benefits of Patenting a Jewelry Design
Here are some of the benefits of patenting your jewelry design:
- Design patents grant you protection over the design of your item of jewelry
- Design patents are relatively inexpensive
- They are relatively easy to get
- Ability to restrict others from copying your design
- Ability to profit from your jewelry for a limited period of time (15 years)
When Shouldn’t You Patent a Jewelry Design
You should not patent a jewelry design if any of the following apply:
- Someone else has already patented the jewelry design you want to patent
- Some else is already using the jewelry design
- The application did not come up with the jewelry design
- Your jewelry design does not have a new and unique look
Deadline to Patent Your Jewelry Design
Generally, to patent a design, in this case, your jewelry design, an applicant must file his patent application within one year of publicly disclosing the design, selling the item bearing the design, or offering the item for sale. If patenting your design is important to you, you should keep it as secret as possible prior to the patent office granting your patent application.
If you attempt to file a design patent with the USPTO after more than one year of disclosing your jewelry design, the patent office may reject your application on the grounds that your design is considered to be prior art, prohibiting you from patenting the design. So, keep your design secret until the patent office grants your patent.
Protecting Your Jewelry Design
If you’re working on your jewelry design and you need the assistance of an outside party, ask them to sign a confidentiality agreement. This agreement will prohibit them from publicly disclosing your design. That said, confidentiality agreements are not perfect and sometimes people break them. In the event that a party breaks the confidentiality agreement, you can take legal action against them for violating it.
Should You Hire an Attorney to Patent Your Jewelry Design?
The USPTO does not require applicants to hire an attorney to file a design patent application to protect a jewelry design, hiring one is highly recommended. The patent office has a lot of rules that need to be followed and making a mistake could cost you time and money. So, having an attorney will reduce the chances of a mistake.
From the estimates that we’ve seen, patent attorneys charge between $2,500 to $3,500 for preparing and filing a design patent application. That said, your attorney may charge you more if he needs to communicate with the patent office on your behalf or if he needs to make amendments to your patent application.
If you cannot afford a patent attorney, you may benefit from hiring a patent agent. Patent agents are qualified and licensed by the USPTO to perform patent-related tasks. These tasks include preparing your patent application, filing it with the patent office, and communicating with the patent office on your behalf. They charge less money than patent attorneys while offering services very similar to patent attorneys.
This article answered the question of whether you can patent jewelry. By now you probably know that you can as long as the design you’re seeking to patent is new and unique. We also covered the costs associated with patenting an item of jewelry. Jewelry patents are great to protect new jewelry designs and they are relatively inexpensive. If you have any general questions or comments concerning jewelry patents, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.