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copyright versus patent

updated sun 23 dec 01


Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild on sat 22 dec 01

Hi Gayle,

It's not clear what type of work you're trying to protect. Copyrights offer
some protection against copying a work of creative or artistic expression.
It's fairly weak protection; if someone does copy your work, you will
bear the burden and costs of taking them to court to prove it.

On the other hand, if what you are trying to protect is an *idea* with
utility or functional value (such as a new spout design the doesn't drip),
a copyright will not protect you... you will need to file a patent.
And despite
the how-to books from Nolo Press and others, it's very difficult for
someone without training to file a valid patent.

It's sad, but intellectual property protection (copyrights and patents)
work best for companies, with the money and legal resources to use them
effectively. If you feel your design or idea has significant economic value,
your best bet might be to get an agent and license it.

PS - I really love the photos of your work on your website.

>Hi Karen,
>I guess I just don't want to walk into Target or Wal-Mart and see my idea
>stolen and mass produced in China which by the way happened to a local
>artist here.
>This seemed like an economical way to have some protection.
>Gayle Bair
>Bainbridge Island, WA

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Bob Nicholson
Webmaster, Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild