We've all seen it (on Instagram) before: a
high-street brand advertising its cheaper version of a
couturier's statement piece. But it is way more cringeworthy
when the fashion copycat tells everyone that the one and only
Taylor Swift is wearing their design; only to discover that
she's actually not.
So, what's the story here? Let's rewind to May, when
Nasty Gal, the US-based fashion retailer with a heavy social media
presence, posted a picture on Instagram of Tay-Tay at the Billboard
Music Awards. The post boasted that she was wearing Nasty Gal's
white flared jumpsuit (retailing for US$45). It was all pretty
exciting for Nasty Gal, until moments later when it was revealed
that the jumpsuit wasn't Nasty Gal's, but in fact French
haute couture fashion house Balmain's, which retails for
US$2,000. [Insert awkward silence].
To avoid situations like this and protect your design from
fashion copycats in Australia, we introduce you to the Designs Act
2003. A design is protected in Australia if it's registered
under this Act. Once registered, you'll have enforceable rights
for a maximum of 10 years to commercially use, licence, sell or
protect your design.
A design is registrable if it passes the test of being
'new' and 'distinctive'. That is, it must not be
similar to any other design previously disclosed anywhere in the
world (including the internet); whether or not it was independently
developed. You can even register your design if it is just a
Some tips for budding designers on protecting your intellectual
Do your research and ensure your design does not infringe
someone else's registered design. You can search design
registers to assist in this process.
Keep your design secret until the design is registered.
Don't exhibit it, sell copies of it or upload it onto the
internet. If you don't keep it secret, you cannot register
Once registered, include "registered design"
statements on your swing tags to dissuade potential copiers.
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The Ugg boots case revolves around who holds the trade mark rights to the word 'Ugg' in relation to sheepskin boots.
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