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Posted 09 Apr 2002   For week ended February 01, 2002
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 04Feb02
By Rosemary Pollock
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Judge Allows Manufacture of Joseph Smith Ring

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Judge Anthony Quinn, of the 3rd District Court, issued a decision to dismiss the case of an Orem man who attempted to prevent Ringmasters LLC of Ogden from producing and marketing replicas of a ring that was worn by the prophet Joseph Smith. Erwin "Buddy" Youngreen filed a lawsuit against the jeweler in October and accused him of conspiring with Allan R. Baird and David Lewis of making 300 unauthorized replicas for a Sandy, Utah ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"If this ring is the ring, and Buddy wanted to sell it, he could sell it," Fonda said. "But he doesnt' have the right to preclude anyone from making reproductions of the ring any more than I can prevent people from making reproductions of the Statue of Liberty and selling them," said David Fonda, Ringmasters attorney. He argued Youngreen could not regulate reproduction because he had no copyright on the smooth gold band with an oval engraved on the top. Royalties were intially paid by the jeweler to Youngreen for the right to distribute the replications.

Youngreen claims a member of the late prophet's family entrusted the ring to him years ago. Smith is known to have worn a ring, which he used to illustrate a main doctrine of Mormonism during an April 7, 1844, speech known as the King Follett Discourse. "I take my ring from my finger," Smith said, "and liken it unto the mind of man, the immortal spirit, because it has no beginning."

"Mr. Youngreen may own the actual ring that Joseph Smith wore, however, that does not give him the right to prevent others from making or selling similar rings," Fonda said. "The ring's design is believed to be public domain," he added. Replicas of the ring are sold in Utah stores and on the Internet. Seagull Book and Tape in Salt Lake City said the rings can range from $80 for a woman's sterling silver band to $400 for a 14karat gold men's band.


Ogden Firm Wins Smith Rings Suit
Salt Lake Tribune 26Jan02 B2
By Elizabeth Neff: Salt Lake Tribune

Reproduction of Ring Believed Worn by Joseph Smith Results in Suit
Salt Lake Tribune 19Oct01 B4
By Elizabeth Neff: Salt Lake Tribune

Lawsuit erupts over Smith ring
Deseret News 19Oct01 B4
By Linda Thomson: Deseret News staff writer

Jeweler Claims Duplicates Of Ring Within Its Rights
Salt Lake Tribune 27Oct01 B2
By Elizabeth Neff: Salt Lake Tribune


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