We define “fashion” as the dialogue among the creative industries that proposes innovations and consumers who decide what to adopt or reject.
IN 2003, FashionTrademarks.biz WAS CREATED AS A SPECIAL DIVISION OF INNOVATION PI TO ADDRESS THE UNIQUE NEEDS OF FASHION AND BEAUTY INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS, e.g., Fashion Law.
Fashion law deals with the day to day business problems of the fashion and beauty industries. As with other recently developed sub-specialties of business law, fashion law is actually a compilation of several different legal disciplines. Fashion law incorporates relevant concepts from intellectual property, commercial sales, customs, real estate, employment, advertising law, and more.
Under current US law, it can be legal to copy fashion designs. But, it is ILLEGAL to copy the trademark (brand name/logo) used to identify them. Creating strong fashion brand names and protecting them through the use of federal trademarks is essential to the success of any fashion company. Fashion designer, Diane von Furstenberg is a great example. She perfected the wrap dress not prevented others from copying it, but by marketing her wrap dress under her brand name. Her advertising campaign has been so effective that wrap dresses bearing her logo are seen as superior to those dresses marketed under a different name.
All artists, writers, photographers, film makers, designers, etc. who create original works, have special rights or copyrights -unless they give these rights away usually by executing a contract to the contrary. These special copy rights enable an artist to not only create non useful articles like illustrations, photographs, blogs, videos, fabric designs, jewelry, wall paper designs, etc. but these rights allow an artist to copy and distribute these works exclusively.
Designers are now seeking out more innovative ways other than trademarks and copyrights to protect designs. Specifically, emerging designers are embracing a growing trend of actually applying for utility and design patents despite cost and the lengthy application process.
Utility patents protect useful, new, non-obvious inventions e.g., machines, chemical compounds, articles of manufacture, methods for performing tasks, methods for manufacturing products and improvements upon pre-existing technologies. Utility patent protections lasts about 20 years and prevents others from making, using, selling or importing the invention. In 2011 fashion designer, Rochelle Behren obtained a utility patent on a blouse that featured hidden buttons to prevent the blouse from gaping in the front!
Design patents protect the way something looks, as opposed to more commonly known utility patents, which protect the way something is used and works. The USPTO generally grants design patents within a year of the application date. By contrast, a utility patent can take up to several years to be granted. This provides a great advantage to the fast-moving pace of the fashion industry. While utility patents can cost upwards of $10,000, a design patent application and issue fees total approximately $1,300 for a large company and if you’re a small entity the fess are about half of that.