We're not just talking a knock-off of yours, or even something that is just similar – no, this craft is actually a carbon copy. You do not know if you should say something … what if she was making the craft first? Then you would be copying!
You can protect your crafts from copyright and trademark infringement – and often times it is as simple as making the craft itself. We'll discuss three things you should know about copyrighting and trademarking – and maybe even patenting your crafts.
A copyright comes with construction – Most people do not realize that a copyright comes with the actual creation of something. While you can not copyright knitted sweaters, you can copyright a design or symbol that is on your goods. Where copyright particularly apply is in the area of 'intellectual' or artistic crafts. This may be poetry, photography, painting (or most forms of art) and other 'artsy' media. As soon as your creation is complete, it has a copyright. For further protection, you can register a copyright.
Trademarking your unique symbol – Trademarking is different from copyrighting that you are laying your claim to a symbol or design that is special to your crafts. For example, if you are selling silkscreened T-shirts at the craft show, and you have a symbol to denote that it is one of your shirts, that symbol can be trademarked so that no one can use it. Trademarking protection becomes important if your symbol is very identifiable – and people buy the shirts because of the symbol it has on it.
Patents for specific designs – Patents are different from both copyrighting and trademarking. Patents are usually reserved for specific designs that are not typical anywhere else. For example, let's say you designed a birdfeeder that would automatically fill up when it sensed the weight of a bird on the outside perch. That would be something that you could patent (if it had not been patented already). Patents are usually reserved for ideas and new applications; and to get a patent, you need to provide plans, proof that it is an original idea, and a host of other information in order to get it.
Generally speaking you will run into crafts and designs that are similar to yours – but rarely ever exactly the same. Still, you do want to protect the ideas and the unique value of your crafts, so you may want to take the copyright and trademark protection to the next level. You can register trademarks and patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and copyright can be registered at the US Copyright Office.