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What You Need to Know About Design Copyright?

August 27, 2021

When working as a graphic designer, finding exciting new job opportunities is good as it gets. Most graphic designers and designers all around the world work as freelancers. No matter if you are designing a new line of wardrobe, a new logo for a startup company, or something else, you may need to make sure you are safe in your dealings. Working and designing is the best part of the job. However, the other part of the workload, designers usually don’t like as much is dealing with contracts and design copyrights terms. In case you are a designer considering starting up as a freelancer, consider getting familiar with all design copyright aspects that may influence your circumstances.

What is design copyright?

Nowadays everything you create is considered intellectual property. Your property is your design product. Every product you create is unique and quite special. If you are creating a unique product, without copying other known products, your product will be protected by law. However, sometimes other people may copy your product or parts of your product and call them their own. For this reason, it is important to stay safe and know everything about design copyright. In case you don’t have any paperwork or contract with your company, it may be harder to prove that work is yours. For the reasons of safety, it is crucial to know the basics about your rights before you get your product out there.

How can you keep your product protected?

Before we discuss and explain all the ways you can use to protect your work, it is important to understand when your product is protected by the law. It is quite easy to understand that every design you create is protected by law only if you take various actions to protect it. However, that is not always the case. In some cases, other people may use your product and call it their own. That is the problem because it may take time and money to prove in court that your design is actually yours. To avoid having to prove you are the creator of your own work it is crucial you know how to protect your designs and your products while working in the design industry.

Inventing a new recipe, writing lyrics to a new song, or inventing a great new design for a company should be your intellectual property. However, inventing something new and unique is only part of the job. The easier part is making sure that you protect your product or your invention by law. Here are a few ways to protect your intellectual property:

  • Design copyright. If you are a designer, you will want to know more about design copyright agreements. Design copyright usually is the best way to protect works of art designs and literature pieces.
  • Patent. Patents are used for protecting various inventions and creations.
  • Trademark. Trademarks are quite visible signs that show that the design or a product is a creation of a certain company like a mascot, product of a certain production line, etc. Let’s take McDonald’s foods as an example. You can differentiate their products and packaging in every corner of the world because the trademark is recognizable and products are the same in every establishment.

Exceptions to the rule

In the United States of America, every product a designer creates without the help of somebody else is his intellectual property. However, there are design copyright expiations also. In work-for-hire situations, your creation is not your intellectual property. When you are under a specific contract with the design company you work for, the product you create is theirs, unless the contract specifically states the specific terms of ownership. That is why every designer should consider discussing the terms of design copyright with the future employer before signing the formal contract. Each designer should know their rights, as well as obligations before the company he works for agrees to advertise and use his designs under the name of the company.

How to resolve design copyrights dispute?

It is no secret that disputes over design ownership happen every day. When big companies are in question it is easier for an individual to follow up and prove the claim to his rights of intellectual property. However, it is not unusual that individuals also try to win their claims all by themselves. In this scenario, the options are limited and the process may drag on and cost you a lot of time and money.

In case you need to follow up on a design copyright dispute, you should consider hiring a professional to help. Keep in mind that only with the help of a reliable lawyer that specializes in copyright claims may help you put the whole mess behind you. However, that is not the easiest job. Professional lawyers that specialize in these types of lawsuits will provide you with the best advice and make you take the best course of action. However, there is a lot you can do to avoid getting to court to prove your intellectual property rights.

Better be safe than sorry

Anyone who has ever been in a situation where he needs to prove his ownership and rights of intellectual property will tell you he is sorry that he let things go that far. Also, he is not the lone case. Many designers who had been scammed comment how they didn’t know much about design copyright before getting into a dispute. Designers that went through this process always advise their creative designers to protect their product, their intellectual property, and their resources to avoid this type of problem in the future. 

Nowadays it is easy to find out more about design copyright in your country. There are special law firms that offer free advice about intellectual property matters. If you decide to find out more about protecting your intellectual property, you should consider asking a professional who specializes in this area of the law. Also, remember that every country in the world has various laws regarding intellectual property and ways to deal with disputes.

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