Dame som strikker på store pinner

Can I knit what I want?

Is there such a thing as knitted rights? No, but we would like to have that. Rights to something knitted are not easy to sort out.

What we can say with certainty is that you can knit whatever you want for yourself, i.e., for private use. You can also knit for your family without any further thought, and you can give those home-knitted gifts to whomsoever you want. But once you begin to make money from what you knit, several sets of rules come into play, and the picture becomes rather more complicated. 

Knitted products can be registered as a design 

We at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office have granted rights to several types of products that are knitted. When what you knit gives a new look to a product or part of a product, you can register it under the Design Act. Then you get exclusive rights to this look and can decide who can use it to make money from it. You "own" this design, and the design right is like wrapping paper that makes it easier to convert into money. You can choose whether it is only you who will produce, or whether you want to sell or rent this right. But as we said at the beginning, anyone can use a knitting pattern for private use. 

What about copyright? 

What about traditional patterns like Selbu or Marius? Well, here we are on somewhat uncertain ground. Basically, all traditional knitting is free for everyone to use both privately and commercially. But some claim to have copyright to some patterns, like Marius. Thus, they claim that they know who the creator of the pattern is. This means that someone "owns" this pattern up to 70 years after the relevant creator has died. It is the courts that ultimately decide whether it can be proven that a pattern was created by a particular person, so that person has copyright. But again, you can make whatever you want to use privately. 

But what if you create something new, do you get copyright then? Yes, you cand. This right is not as easy to use as "wrapping paper" for buying and selling, as it is not certain until the court has decided it. 

Can you get a patent for a knitting pattern? 

It's a knitting technique called Patent Stitch, and then you'd think it was a patented knitting pattern. However, you cannot get a patent for such a pattern, as a patent requires a technical solution. 

However, you can knit beautiful garments in Patent Stitch. You knit double stitches to get clear, thick stripes in the work - like in a rib. 

Dame strikker patentstrikk
Patent knitting is a knitting technique where you knit double stitches to get clear, thick stripes. Photo: iStock.

Can you publish other people's knitting patterns?  

It is not necessarily permitted to post other people's patterns and garments on the internet, Facebook, blog, in a discussion forum or the like. At the same time, it is very difficult to say for sure whether this is illegal, because in many cases it will be quite unclear whether a knitting pattern is protected by copyright or not.  

The Norwegian Marketing Act may apply  

We also have a Marketing Act which has rules on how parties in sales situations must relate to each other. It can be important in such cases.

We will help ypu

Did you become wiser now, or is this perceived as legal wool? Feel free to send us comments or questions, and we will answer as best as possible.

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