908.2 Copyrightable Authorship in Jewelry
Jewelry designs may be created in a variety of ways, such as carving, cutting, molding, casting, or shaping the work, arranging the elements into an original combination, or decorating the work with pictorial matter, such as a drawing or etching.
The U.S. Copyright Office may register jewelry designs if they are sufficiently creative or expressive. The Office will not register pieces that, as a whole, do not satisfy this requirement, such as mere variations on a common or standardized design or familiar symbol, designs made up of only commonplace design elements arranged in a common or obvious manner, or any of the mechanical or utilitarian aspects of the jewelry. Common de minimis designs include solitaire rings, simple diamond stud earrings, plain bangle bracelets, simple hoop earrings, among other commonly used designs, settings, and gemstone cuts.
• Janine Jackson creates a brooch consisting of three parallel rows of sapphires. The registration specialist will refuse registration because the design is common and there is only a de minimis amount of authorship in the arrangement of stones.
• Jeremiah Jones creates a necklace consisting of a standard cross on a black silk cord with a plain silver clasp. The registration specialist will refuse to register this work because it consists of functional elements (e.g., a silk cord and a plain silver clasp) and a familiar symbol (the standard cross).