Copyright Protection in the Furniture Industry

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Intellectual property ("IP") law offers the furniture designer the opportunity to carve out a unique niche in the marketplace. However, since the law protects non-functional design only, taking advantage of such legal protection requires conscious planning.

The purpose of this article is to provide the designer with some basic concepts to keep in mind during the design process should copyright protection be a goal. To make our discussion a bit easier to follow, we focus on a hypothetical design, titled "FH Design." FH Design is a bedroom dresser with an attached mirror, modeled in the epoch style with ornamental scrolls encircling the mirror, entwining leaf patterns edging the top of the dresser and drawer handles etched with floral motifs. The dresser section itself is unconventionally short, rising only three feet from the ground. The entirety of the dresser and mirror is painted with a forest green lacquer.

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