Reply by DannyBoy

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Posted on When is a design belong to you?

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521 posts in 3893 days

#1 posted 02-22-2010 08:04 PM

I would say that if you see something and do the design work on it yourself to make, it is okay to sell. That is, as long as it isn’t a trademark. You wouldn’t be able to look at Mickey Mouse and build/draw him and then sell it. Likewise, if your design is too close to a patented item, then you probably will have problems as well.

If you purchase a plan (or get one for free as a download or get it through a magazine), then you probably don’t have a legal right to use the design to build something to sell. The only exception I can think of is if the plans specifically say you can.

Consider looking at a Morris Chair. There are thousands of variations of these in the world. Many of those are copyrighted designs. There is probably even a patent out there somewhere too. But, if you like the look, draw it all out yourself and build it, I doubt that you will have any problems with anyone. It is a very accepted design and isn’t necessarily ripping anyone off.

Now consider looking at a specific table design that is obviously more artfully inspired than just a flat board with four legs. If you like that design, figure it out and build it to sell, then you run the risk of infringing on a copyright or patent. So, basically, it depends on the specific item you are “copying”.

I’m not completely versed on this so there is probably a better, more legal definition out there. However, this is what I have always believed to be true.


-- He said wood...

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