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Good Jewelry Design Patent Tips

Updated on August 21, 2010

Jewelry Design Patent

Patent laws were established in 1641 in the United States initially for the Massachusetts Bay colony in regards to manufacturing salt. Congress was given the power to enforce federal patent laws once the Constitution of the United States was effective in 1789. The Congress introduced the federal patent law in 1790. There were laws made for jewelry design patent.

Jewelers were granted two types of patents. It started in 1850 to guard from copying from major competitors. Patents for designs protect the idea behind the design and how it's done while the utility patents guard how the product works or being used.

Utility patents are higher in number than the design patents which have separate numbering systems. There is also a difference in the length of time between the design and the utility patent as the former will only last upto 7 years with the average of 3 1/2 while utility patent could work for 17 years. There are some companies who didn't use the patent system.

One of the reasons why jewelry makers didn't use patent system is that there are some designs which are only good for a single season or event. The amount for patents started at $60 up. Some companies didn't waste their time and funds to get patents since it only lasted for a few years and it could easily be dodged.

The utility design mechanisms go longer until two decades giving the individual a time frame as to when the mechanism was introduced. This, however, will not tell when the jewelry was made. Since the design patent is a lot shorter you are given a smaller time frame to know when your jewelry was made. Another flaw of the patent system is that if the patent for a design lapsed the company could still use it.

Copyright laws were reformed in 1947 to give way for jewelry makers to give copyright to their designs. When it was brought up the need for patent lessened. The Trifari Company filed a case against Charel Jewelry company in 1955. They claimed that they infringed upon their "bolero" costume jewelry designs. Copyright is more efficient and effective than patents because they are given faster approval, last longer, and cost less. A small copyright symbol is used next to a company's name to indicate that they have copyright on their jewelry.

Jewelry patents, although phased out for the most part, still provide some interesting views from the past.


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