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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3653
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I've been threatened with legal action. I'm a carpenter and

Resolved Question:

Hi there, I've been threatened with legal action. I'm a carpenter and made a vinyl record picture frame/holder. A company in the U.S. claims they own the copy rite for the idea, although after some investigation I'm sure mine was in existence before theirs and if anything they might have copied my idea. Could you give any advice?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. Have they sent a letter from a lawyer demanding you cease and desist? Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi AJ, No lawyer letters. I have been warned over Instagram message to make my product disappear. I researched when I designed the item and there was no other one on the market. The other Party has only started displaying their item since May and mine was made in December 15. I've time stamped photos of making the piece and social media uploads well before them. They also interact with an Instagram page that I frequently link my work to, so in my opinion it could be myself that's been copied. I've uploaded some material for you to look at. Kind regards ***** *****
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Thank you. Potentially you have a copyright over this as an unregistered design right. You would not be able to get a patent on this as it is not an invention it is just a novel of storing vinyls. Making spurious copyright claims is not permitted under UK law. I would right back to them and explain you have prior goodwill and trading history in this item, you can prove you designed the product yourself it is an original design and was not copied. Say that if he continues to harass you or make unfounded threats you will pursue him for the cost of obtaining legal advice in defending yourself. I would then provide a chronology of when you started selling it to prove that it is an original idea. Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, The product was made for my dads small music room/cupboard. The limited space and the fact it was the entrance to the loft basically restricted my options for the vinyl storage, basically it was a design of necessity. I started putting the item on social media to see if I got positive responses in order to pursue whether to produce them in quantity. I received this threat and now as I've not started selling them, I was wondering if I should abandon the idea because the other party have brought the item to the shops before me.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Thank you. Is the other party selling the item in the UK? Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I think the set up is, a carpenter (@classycollector) in Kentucky is making them as a side project and has teamed up with a comic book shop (timewarpcomics) to sell to order, they are advertising as will deliver worldwide, but looking at low responses on their social media, I would imagine only a few have been produced as to origin of the purchaser I would doubt that any have been posted outside of the U.S.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Thank you. If you want to commence this as a commercial enterprise I would not let these people bully and intimidate you. If they would wanted to sue you, they would have to do so in the UK which would be an expensive exercise for them without guarantee of success. I would stand your ground and say if anything they have infringed your unregistered design right and if they do not leave the UK market you reserve the right to sue them.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, sorry last one. They have claimed copywrite and patent pending on product. As you've advised there can't be a successfull patent as its not an invention, would I be advised to track down their copywrite claim on their product and if it turns out it was before my product was made, should I then not pursue with product or with there been differences in design could we both have copywrite for two different items. Thanks
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Thank you. I am not sure how it works in the USA, but in England this would not be protect able as a patent and as a general rule copyright subsists automatically and does not get registered. The only copy right that can be registered is a "registered design right" - you could try and register your idea here - https://www.gov.uk/register-a-design/check-if-you-can-register-your-design . Kind regards AJ

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