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Custom Orders turned into Standard Catalog Offerings

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Gypsy

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I’m not advocating anything here, this is purely a discussion point (and in no way reflects any dealings I’ve personally had, or intend to have, with any vendor or designer here at all, in anyway shape or form).

So I’m in Supply Side Contracts. And I had a thought I wanted to get your ideas on (vendors welcome in this thread)

Here’s what prompted this thread: when the company I work for (any company I have worked for) purchases a product that involves customization or that product for my company either A) expect to exclusivity for a period of time (in other words we don’t own the intellectual property, but do have the exclusive right to the purchase of the product for a set period of time) B) expect to own the intellectual property of the product (so that we own production and other rights), or C) if we don’t get exclusivity or IP ownership, then we expect to NOT pay a customization premium because the vendor will be selling the product to others and we’ve helped them develop something that keeps them competitive and they will be able to recover development costs through volumes sold to others.


Now, in the PS world we the consumers do a lot of customized designs. More often than not, we do not ask for exclusivity or copyright (there are exceptions to this), BUT some vendors do take the designs they’ve made for us and turn them into standard catalog items (with or without our consent, and usually as a result of other PSers or lurkers letting the vendor know that they would like a similar product).


BUT, the person initiating the design for jewelry gets charged a development fee. Which I think is fair, of course, because it’s the designer’s time spent creating something ‘unique.’


But is it fair for that person to pay that fee if the designer/vendor intends to use it for a standard catalog offering?


(And what I mean by standard catalog is not that someone else sees the pics and calls the vendor (who owns the copyright) up and asks for the same thing and the vendor produces one or four more upon specific customer request. I mean in their standard product offerings, like you see on their website… like BN’s website with its standard settings.)


Should the initial customer get some sort of credit… (and I’m not talking about naming, I’m talking financial credit or something material) for the fact that they paid for work that the designer is now making additional money on if their design is turned into a standard catalog offering? I mean, if they bought the same thing AFTER someone else has paid for the development fees, then they’d get a lower price and the same product, but just because they are the ‘groundbreaker’ they get a surcharge for development work others benefit from (both the vendor and subsequent customers).



Finally, with regard to vendors who do turn custom pieces into standard catalog, do you think ethically they should advise the custom customer of the fact that their design may become standard catalog before the transaction? I mean after the work is done, if the customer has not arranged for exclusivity or copyright ownership, and the design is owned by the vendor then there is no way for the customer to do anything about the issue—except come on here and express frustration if they do not like the idea of their custom piece being readily available like that, which does not avail them of what they want.
 

purrfectpear

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I''m going to go with NO on the idea of owing the customer notification or any form of compensation.

While the customer may "think" that''s their design, in fact I''ve yet to see ANY custom design on PS that I haven''t seen somewhere else, at some time or another (with the exception of Cehra''s ring). Sooner or later there''s an antique ring, an eBay ring, another manufacturer''s ring, or some other owners ring that will be so close to the "custom" design that it''s practically the same design.

Personally I think people need to get over the idea that their ring is somehow unique only to them.

The only true custom rings (unlike any other) that I can remember seeing anywhere were typically more "art" rings in very modern designs (think the jewelry designer contest type rings). Even they probably have a twin somewhere
 

Maisie

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I think the extra cost the customer pays to have the custom piece designed should be refunded to them if the company decides to make it a stock piece.
 

strmrdr

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Some designs will be copyrightable and some not.
The designs that I do that I feel are copyrightable I will protect with a contract.
One of my clients is an attorney who from time to time deals with these issues and he said the law is a mess in this area and that no blanket statements can be made.

That said my opinion if it is not copyrightable but turned into a catalog item at a lower price than the original client paid they should be refunded the difference.
If it is copyrightable a design fee/commission should be paid for each one sold.
 

strmrdr

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Date: 2/19/2009 7:48:38 PM
Author: purrfectpear

Personally I think people need to get over the idea that their ring is somehow unique only to them.
That is not what it is about, it is about IP theft and unfair treatment.
We live in an IP based world unfortunately and consumers have just as much right to IP protection as the vendor does.
 

purrfectpear

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I don''t disagree with you in concept Karl, I used to manage a law firm that dealt with IP issues, and I work in aerospace now where IP and proprietary design is a constant battle with our own government reverse engineering my parts to avoid my OEM cost


If someone believes their design is sooooo unique, then they need to spend the money to protect their design through copywrite.

Very few of the custom rings I''ve seen posted would fall under that category. Most are just a knock off of some previous design. How many unique halos, three stones, baskets/heads, etc. are really first time designs
 

Gypsy

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Off to a roaring start so far....
 

Kaleigh

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Date: 2/19/2009 10:52:35 PM
Author: Gypsy
Off to a roaring start so far....
LOl. I hope to hear more on this.
 

decodelighted

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Its an interesting question. I think the benefit the original buyer gets is the ability to craft a unique piece of jewelry to their specific desires. If they could have found what they wanted elsewhere, they would have. Going in you kinda know you''re developing something that there *is* a need for -- you just don''t know how *wide* the desire will be.

If once a vendor has created something -- the desire seems wide enough, the vendor then takes a certain risk by offering it as a catalog item. Meaning they probably produce a few to keep in stock in the hopes they''ll sell. Only they are bearing that risk. Not the original customer.

Ultimately I think its just two sep. things. Sep. issues. Would agree that it seems strange that the person who has the "bright idea" in the first place actually pays MORE for the item than the subsequent customers for that item. But what they were paying that extra FOR is the customization -- NOT exclusivity. Make sense?
 

Gypsy

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DARN YOU DECO!! I was hoping for pages and pages, and now I'm gonna get a bunch of "Dittos", I just know it.
 

Deelight

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Copyright ideas aside I think you have a point Gypsy, if the company creates a custom project for a client charges them custom prices but then in turn decides to mass produce it the original client really misses out. At the very least I think if there is a price discrepancy between the concept model and the later offerings the original client should be compensated the difference. The company gets continued profits from the mass catalogued item and fresh ideas without having to pay for research and development teams to think up the idea for that new product.

It has definitely got me thinking...
 

Gypsy

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Date: 2/19/2009 11:20:00 PM
Author: Deelight
Copyright ideas aside I think you have a point Gypsy, if the company creates a custom project for a client charges them custom prices but then in turn decides to mass produce it the original client really misses out. At the very least I think if there is a price discrepancy between the concept model and the later offerings the original client should be compensated the difference. The company gets continued profits from the mass catalogued item and fresh ideas without having to pay for research and development teams to think up the idea for that new product.

It has definitely got me thinking...
Then again... maybe not all dittos. Good points Deelight!
 

Hudson_Hawk

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I think in an ideal world the company would refund the custom fee.

However, I think it''s a rare instance where the customer is involved in this microcosm we call PS, and even know when their piece is made stock. Unless they request copyright or TM at the time the design is made, there''s no way to prove that the stock design is in fact the same design as the custom piece. There are too many loopholes for it to hold up without a contract. I just don''t see it happening.

Besides, in a capitalist society, it''s the right of the jewelry company who produced the piece to realize revenue from the design. Especially if it''s one of their designers who worked on it. The client in most instances only consults on the design, it''s the designer who completes the work, and IMHO, the designer should get the copyright by default. That being said, if the consumer literally draws up the custom design themselves, then it''s their design and they should get the rights. Heck, they should be able to have the custom ring created by WF and then sell the design to Stullar if they want to! It''s their prerogative if they created the design.
 

arjunajane

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Date: 2/19/2009 11:20:00 PM
Author: Deelight
Copyright ideas aside I think you have a point Gypsy, if the company creates a custom project for a client charges them custom prices but then in turn decides to mass produce it the original client really misses out. At the very least I think if there is a price discrepancy between the concept model and the later offerings the original client should be compensated the difference. The company gets continued profits from the mass catalogued item and fresh ideas without having to pay for research and development teams to think up the idea for that new product.

It has definitely got me thinking...
Ditto Dee (sorry Gypsy, but she already said it for me)

I am in the camp that the original client should have the custom fee refunded..

And I agree, interesting topic that has been "lurking" around PS abit lately - thankyou for starting a nonpartisan thread to discuss it properly Gypsy.
 

Gypsy

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No worries Arj... and you are welcome. The wheels were spinning...
 

geoffreysnow

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IMO the original that the jeweler made you took a lot more time and it''s that time and expertise in creating or modifying the setting that costs money. They''re charging for consultations to receive your input and design specifications, it''s not an "assembly line" standard design where they know the exact specs to make the next setting look like the one before.

It''s kind of like runway fashion pieces where one offs are made by the designer and cost thousands of dollars but eventually some are reproduced and cost much less than that first.
 
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