Cake Designs As Intellectual Property?

Decorating By MissSassyBuns Updated 20 Nov 2009 , 1:19am by 3GCakes

MissSassyBuns Posted 18 Nov 2009 , 9:49pm
post #1 of 14

Hey all,

I've been perusing all the beautiful/cute/stunning/quirky/loveable cake designs on CC and other cake websites and dreaming/wondering about recreating those designs myself and it got me thinking....are cake designs intellectual property?

Do those of you who come up with these fantastic designs and execute them with perfection, get upset when someone turns your own design around and sell it (potentially for less/more $$)? Do you have legal rights to stop that person from ever using your design again?

I checked out a government site regarding copyrighting and I think cakes fall into a bit of a gray area...Does anyone have an opinion on this? I was thinking that I would be flattered if someone felt highly enough of my cake to replicate the design. However, I can also see myself being miffed if my design was copied so much that I was no longer original...(?)

(just a "hmmmmm, I wonder" kind of question of the day) icon_smile.gif

13 replies
KHalstead Posted 18 Nov 2009 , 10:05pm
post #2 of 14

i believe I once read that a big name cake artist "attempted" to copy right a style of cake (I believe it was Collete Peters and the topsy turvy cakes, but NOT positive) and I believe that the end result was that a particular cake design could NOT be copyrighted. Therefore, you can copy all you want (except for copyrighted characters) of other people's designs.

I for one find it VERY exciting and honoring when someone likes one of my cakes enough to duplicate it!!! I LOVE when that happens, of course it's always nice to say where you got the inspiration but it's not required! Just kind of a "kind" thing to do.

Price Posted 18 Nov 2009 , 10:10pm
post #3 of 14

There have been alot of threads on this in the past and you are going to get alot of varying responses. Personally, I don't mind at all if someone asks me questions, or wants to use my cakes as inspiration. As a matter of fact, it's a nice feeling to know someone likes my work enough to want to give my design a try. That being said, I am hurt if someone asks me for help, clearly uses my idea and then professes it to be their own design and work.

costumeczar Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 12:42am
post #4 of 14

I don't think that you can copyright a cake design, but it's good to give credit to someone if you copy their design. I have some cakes on my website that clients brought to me from other bakeries, and I try to put "based on an original design by..." under the pictures.

Truthfully, though, I doubt that there's a whole lot that's truly original out there. I'll see "new" designs that are similar to things from books from 15 years ago. Every now and then I'll have an idea that I haven't seen anywhere, and inevitably I'll come across something similar that's already been done. The people you're using as inspiration probably used someone else as inspiration, and on and on and on.

I'd just say that if you do a close copy of something, you should give credit to the person you copy.

KHalstead Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:39am
post #5 of 14

I agree about giving credit...........however, I have come across some sites with MY cake photos on them and that is a NO NO!! I mean my exact photo w/ my wallpaper in the background and everything!!! lol Now I watermark everything to alleviate that, but I was kinda flattered at the same time! The chick that had them on her site had things under the photos like "this one took me ALL night long to finish but my customer went nuts for it" I emailed her and was like "uh hem....I"M the one that stayed up ALL night on THAT cake NOT you lol" she removed the photo.

I've had a couple people ask if they could use some of my photos on THEIR websites in order to show cakes that they "could" do, and I always give them the ok to do it. I don't mind as long as you ask....I actually provided them the original photos with no watermarks on them as well. They weren't taking the credit, just simply showing additional ideas for cakes that they "could" provide!

costumeczar Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:47am
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

I agree about giving credit...........however, I have come across some sites with MY cake photos on them and that is a NO NO!! I mean my exact photo w/ my wallpaper in the background and everything!!! lol Now I watermark everything to alleviate that, but I was kinda flattered at the same time! The chick that had them on her site had things under the photos like "this one took me ALL night long to finish but my customer went nuts for it" I emailed her and was like "uh hem....I"M the one that stayed up ALL night on THAT cake NOT you lol" she removed the photo.

I've had a couple people ask if they could use some of my photos on THEIR websites in order to show cakes that they "could" do, and I always give them the ok to do it. I don't mind as long as you ask....I actually provided them the original photos with no watermarks on them as well. They weren't taking the credit, just simply showing additional ideas for cakes that they "could" provide!





Wow, that's nervy, adding descriptions of how long it took them to make your cakes!! I've had people take watermarked photos off of my website and put them on theirs, with the watermark still on them! It's amazing...

MissSassyBuns Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 4:42am
post #7 of 14

Wow that's crazy! I can't believe someone would actually take your photo and claim it as their own! Some people's children! Good thing she took it down without a fight. I'll have to remember the watermark when I get to doing my own website.

And I always tell people where my inspiration came from. Same thing with my recipes. I always say which baking book I got it from. I would feel like SUCH a cheater otherwise! Not trying to have that kind of karma!! Plus, I would want my credit and dues too if I inspired someone else.

kathyx1 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 5:55am
post #8 of 14

Oh man, I'd love it if someone copied a cake I did.

cylstrial Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 12:33pm
post #9 of 14

My hubby is a lawyer. While he doesn't practice IP (Intellectual Property) law, that's what he wanted to get into, so he took A LOT of IP classes. We've had this conversation several times. Anyway, long story short, it's really hard to claim that you were the first one to come up with a design in cake decorating, fashion, and several other things like that.

-K8memphis Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 1:47pm
post #10 of 14

I think it was Polly Schoomaker who copyrighted the name Whimsy Cakes--but yeah we can't copyright actual designs--but the term was copyrighted if memory serves.

TexasSugar Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 8:09pm
post #11 of 14

K8Memphis, that is what I have heard as well. That you can't call them WhimsyCakes because she copyrighted or trademarked the name. But the design can be done.

Think Cookie Bouquets, they can't tell anyone not to make them, you just can't call them that.

My thoughts is if you don't want something you have done copied, then don't post it on the internet. icon_smile.gif

confectionsofahousewife Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 12:59am
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cylstrial

My hubby is a lawyer. While he doesn't practice IP (Intellectual Property) law, that's what he wanted to get into, so he took A LOT of IP classes. We've had this conversation several times. Anyway, long story short, it's really hard to claim that you were the first one to come up with a design in cake decorating, fashion, and several other things like that.




My husband is a lawyer too! It causes me some problems as far as selling my cakes since I am just beginning and am not licensed or insured icon_wink.gif
He won't even let me make business cards. He is afraid that I will poison someone and they will sue me.

cakenutz Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 1:13am
post #13 of 14

In art nothing under the sun is new, We just interpet what we feel and see. You can see someting that inspires you and it isn't ever exactly what you copied because of interpetational differences. You can't infringe on color and substance. As stated by an old art teacher of mine

3GCakes Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 1:19am
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakenutz

In art nothing under the sun is new, We just interpet what we feel and see. You can see someting that inspires you and it isn't ever exactly what you copied because of interpetational differences. You can't infringe on color and substance. As stated by an old art teacher of mine




WOw! That's a very deep statement....but SOOO true!!

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