66-67.3. Disposal of dies, molds, forms, and patterns.

(a) Definitions. - The following definitions apply in this section:

(1) Customer. - Either of the following:

a. A person who causes or caused a molder to fabricate, cast, or otherwise make a die, mold, form, or pattern.

b. A person who causes or caused a molder to use a die, mold, form, or pattern to manufacture, assemble, or otherwise make a product.

(2) Molder. - A tool or die maker or any other person who does either of the following:

a. Fabricates, casts, or otherwise makes a die, mold, form, or pattern.

b. Uses a die, mold, form, or pattern to manufacture, assemble, or otherwise make a product.

(b) Ownership and Transfer. - A customer has all rights, title, and interest to a die, mold, form, or pattern made or used by a molder on behalf of the customer unless an agreement provides otherwise. If the customer does not claim possession of the die, mold, form, or pattern from the molder within three years after the last time it is used, the molder may choose to obtain all rights, title, and interest to the die, mold, form, or pattern by operation of law unless a written agreement provides otherwise.

(c) Procedure. - If a molder chooses to have all rights, title, and interest to a die, mold, form, or pattern transferred to the molder by operation of law, the molder must send a written notice, by registered mail, return receipt requested, to the customer and to any known secured creditor. The notice must state that the molder intends to terminate the customer's rights, title, and interest in a mold, die, form, or pattern by having those rights, title, and interest transferred to the molder by operation of law pursuant to this section. The notice to the customer must be sent to the customer's last known address or, if the customer has designated in writing a different address for receipt of the notice, to the designated address. If a return receipt cannot be obtained for a notice that is mailed, the molder may give notice by publication in accordance with G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4(j1). The rights, title, and interest in a die, mold, form, or pattern are transferred by operation of law to a molder who gives notice as required by this section unless, within 30 days after the date the molder receives acknowledgement of the return receipt of a notice that is mailed or 45 days after the date of first publication of a notice made by publication, the customer takes possession of the die, mold, form, or pattern, or makes other contractual arrangements with the molder for taking possession of or for storing the die, mold, form, or pattern.

(d) Use Upon Transfer. - A molder to whom the rights, title, and interest in a die, mold, form, or pattern is transferred by operation of law under this section may destroy or otherwise dispose of the die, mold, form, or pattern as the molder's own property without any risk of liability to the customer. The molder may not use the die, mold, form, or pattern for any other purpose.

(e) Scope. - This section does not affect a right of a customer under federal patent or copyright law or any state or federal law pertaining to unfair competition. (1993, c. 541, s. 9.)