Even though Bottle Cap Necklaces have a patent, can individuals still make the item and sell it for profit legally? I have a friend who has started her own jewelry business and I would like to buy bottlecap necklaces from her but I was told by someone else that she shouldn't sell them because of this patent. Can anyone clear it up for me?
IANAL but this seems bogus. The metal bottle cap was invented in the late 1800s; the discarded tops have been used ever since for a bunch of different secondary uses. Some clown filed a patent in 1996 for using the cap in jewelry design....there's got to be a zillion examples of prior art (I'm not a collector but have seen many examples of bottle tops in old "naive" jewelry in antiques stores). Best info on historical uses would come from antiques dealers, or there might be some printed resources as well.
Here's a link that describes patents vs copyrights for jewelry & why jewelry patents are pretty rare. Legitimate jewelry designers sometimes use patents (more often copyright) to protect full designs. Trying to get a patent in the year 1996 (a full century after the invention of the bottle cap) for their blanket use in any-and-all jewelry design seems pretty ridiculous. YMMV
This might be what you are looking for: bottle cap jewelry
What George is probably saying is that you can sell them, because if anyone complains, that patent could be invalidated by the older patent which George has linked.