Copyright Compendium

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908.3 Application Tips for Jewelry

908.3 Application Tips for Jewelry


When preparing the identifying material for a jewelry design (which may consist of photographs or drawings) the applicant should include all of the copyrightable elements that the applicant intends to register. This is important because the registration specialist can examine only the designs that are actually depicted in the identifying material. If the applicant wants the registration to cover more than just the face of a jewelry design, the identifying material should depict the design from different angles. Additionally, if the applicant wants the registration to cover part of the design or details that are relatively small, the applicant should make sure that those portions are clearly visible in the identifying material.


When evaluating a jewelry design for copyrightable authorship, the registration specialist will consider both the component elements of the design and the design as a whole. In making this determination, the specialist may consider the following aspects of a jewelry design:


• The shapes of the various elements (e.g., gemstones, beads, metal pieces, etc.).


• The use of color to create an artistic design (although color alone is generally insufficient).


• Decoration on the surface of the jewelry (e.g., engraved designs, variations of texture, etc.).


• The selection and arrangement of the various elements.


The following aspects of jewelry generally are not copyrightable and are not considered in analyzing copyrightability:


• Faceting of individual stones (i.e., gem-cutting).


• Purely functional elements, such as a plain clasp or fastener.


• Common or symmetrical arrangements.


As a general rule, if the shape or decoration of a particular element contains enough original authorship to support a registration, the specialist will register the claim. If not, the specialist will consider other factors, such as the selection, coordination, and/or arrangement of elements, as well as the degree of symmetry.


When evaluating the copyrightability of a jewelry design, the specialist may consider the number of elements in the design. More elements may weigh in favor of copyrightability, although a work containing multiple elements may be uncopyrightable if the elements are repeated in a standard geometric arrangement or a commonplace design. A work containing only a few elements may be copyrightable if the decoration, arrangement, use of color, shapes, or textures are sufficient to support a claim.

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