The other side of “fake” jewellery – Designers beware!

The other side of “fake” jewellery – Designers beware!
03 Oct 2019

We all know of the top end jewellery brands being counterfeited globally. Hundreds of thousands of counterfeit jewellery items are seized in markets in and at the borders of most countries in the world.

However, there is another side to ‘fake’ jewellery in the case of jewellery designers.

What are the implications if a jewellery designer is asked to recreate a well-known piece of jewellery for a customer? This is usually done because the customer believes there is a financial saving, but this could mean the end for the designer.

The implication of this recreation is that the designer will then possibly become a manufacturer of counterfeit goods. High-end jewellery houses usually protect the shape of their well-known jewellery pieces by means of a trade mark, although this can also be done by way of registration of an aesthetic design.

Thus, if the jewellery designer accepts the brief from a customer to recreate a specific piece, the designer may be guilty of counterfeiting – which is a crime in South Africa, and can have dire commercial consequences for them.

Jewellery houses are starting to enforce their jewellery shapes aggressively in order to protect their market, and if a jewellery designer finds themselves on the wrong side of the law, they could end up losing all their manufacturing equipment and material as well – with no consequences to the customer.

Jewellery designers should rather approach an IP attorney to advise whether they can make a certain piece of jewellery for a customer before accepting the brief, particularly if they have been asked to recreate a piece of jewellery designed or manufactured by someone else. In addition, it is imperative that jewellery designers and jewellery houses use the services of an IP attorney to protect the shape of their unique jewellery pieces by means of a trade mark or registered design in order to deter third parties from recreating these goods without their authority. Your IP attorney can also assist in having counterfeit goods seized at the borders of South African and in the marketplace if this protection is in place.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Jadon Wolmarans
Jadon Wolmarans

Jadon is an Associate in KISCH IP's Anti-Counterfeiting Department and has a great deal of experience in trade mark prosecution and Anti-Counterfeiting strategies. Jadon assists clients by protecting their brands against counterfeit imports and the selling and distribution of these goods in the marketplace in South Africa and other territories. Jadon also specialises in the litigation aspect of Anti-Counterfeiting matters and has assisted clients in countless matters of this nature. Jadon’s area of speciality is Anti-Counterfeiting, and brand enforcement strategies at the ports of entry and the market place, and has assisted high-end, luxury and well-known brands with their anti-counterfeiting enforcement strategy.

Send a legal query to Jadon Wolmarans
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