Design Patent And Copyright
How Design Patent and Copyright Are Applied On Works That Use Nature For Art
When you produce art or products that bases on natural images and forms, you want to protect them from copycats but this can be a problem. After all, copyrights and design patents are great to have but the work produced must meet certain guidelines to quality for full protections if the work is based on nature.
Nature Is Considered Public Domain
There are some limitations on copyright and design patents when they’re applied to products or works that are based on things that occur in nature. Natural images and forms are public domain and nobody can own a patent or copyright over them. With natural objects kept in public domain, it means that nature is open for everybody to use and can benefits the public because there is an increase of works and products entering the market based on nature.
As nobody can copyright or patent nature, the creator of something that uses nature can obtain a design patent or copyright on their particular expression of nature.
For instance: an artist paints a flower, which is a reproduction of nature’s flower. There’s no way this artist can stop another artists from drawing the exact same flower. After all, the flower is public domain. However, if an artist paints the flower in a unique style, then a copyright protection on the image can be applied for.
Artists who use nature as a starting layout and get away from it so that it doesn’t look like the original layout can apply for a copyright on the representation.
What Will The Copyright Law Do and Not Do
Again, copyright law does not allow artists to have exclusive rights for natural images and shapes. For example, an artist cannot copyright a zebra stripes but can get a copyright on the individual interpretation of the work. This means the law will be applied to anyone who is trying to reproduce the work.
There are several products in the marketplace that use natural images and shapes. The designers of these products can use design patents to keep their competitors from using the identical design on their products.
There are several natural representations that don’t qualify for copyright protection since they’re too analogous to nature to meet the requirements for a design patent. It can be quite expensive and can take a long time to get a design patent. However, it does provide strong protection for functional art that represents natural shapes.
If a person and/or company want to obtain a design patent, they need to have functional product and the creator will need to turn in a patent application within one year of the design’s initial use.
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