Q: I just got back from a show and I am still fuming with anger. One of the jewelry artists is selling almost exact replicas of my jewelry line. How do I combat this? I don’t have a ton of money to stick into lawyers and I don’t know who to turn to.
A: Unfortunately, you’re right that it can take a ton of money to defend intellectual property and often the only beneficiaries of the process are the attorneys. And there are no easy ways to protect yourself by doing it yourself. So the solution is to go forward and provide the best product and service to your customers. You might send a message to your wholesale customers letting them know that there is someone making work that is based on yours and warning them to be mindful of these knockoffs. If you only retail your work, you don’t really have many options. You certainly could write a letter to the other maker letting them know you are aware of their activity and that you are considering what legal action to take. This could be enough to check the situation.