India: Role Of IPR In The Fashion Industry

Last Updated: 24 May 2018
Article by Sayali Diwadkar
Most Read Contributor in India, February 2019

The Indian Fashion Market is booming across continents. At the heart of fashion are designs, innovation and unique trends. Fashion is not only restricted to apparels but also extends largely to luxurious goods and products. Each year the fashion hub produces a whole new collection of designs which needs to be protected and regulated by a proper forum of law. Through IPR protection is guaranteed to the maker against its use, aesthetic aspects and product features or a print.


It is that branch of IPR which ensures an identity in the form of a logo, work or any mark in order to indicate a product and distinguish the same from its competitors. The use of trade mark law ranges from not only the protection of logos and brand names, but also other distinct features of a product. Trademarks can also be either inside the garment or subtly displayed on small portions such as buttons. Trademark law has also led to the introduction of trade dress i.e. the total image of the product including as size, shape, color or color combinations, texture, graphics or even particular sales techniques.


Burberry holds trade mark rights in both the trade mark "Burberry" and the Burberry check pattern.

Louis Vuitton uses its 'LV' mark which is a logo as a part of the design.

Pickwick sells a range of casual fashion wear to adolescents across Europe. Its trademark depicts a young, faceless boy with a spiky hairstyle.This was selected as the style was very appealing to teenagers. Thereafter, Teenagers began perceiving the Pickwick logo as trendy and are willing to pay extra for clothes bearing its trademark.


It is that branch of IPR which guarantees protection for literary and artistic work although already published and put to use. It can be sought under the Copyright Act, 1957 in India for a period of lifetime of the artist and an additional 60 years after he passes away. It plays a major role in motivating a creator and thereby ensuring that the illegal use of his creativity or skill is not obtained.

Trade Secrets

It refers to the core concepts by the use of software tools for fashion design, computer-implemented, software-based business models and logistics management of the entire value chain. Through the protection of information by IP a business concerns can aim at a well-established market position and regulate its market share, profit margins, differentiation, innovation thus avoiding the risk of IP infringement. IP protection of assets creates an overall image in the eyes of the investor and consumer.


An innovate information technology system has been opted for by Zara in order to shorten its production cycle to a mere 30 days while that of its competitors range from 4 to 12 months. Also, a high-tech distribution system, with some 200 kilometers of underground traces and over 400 chutes, ensures that the finished items are shipped and arrive in stores within 48 hours.

Shirtsdotnet is a clothing platform that offers customers an option to design and order apparel directly from its virtual shop. A proprietary software which is protected as a trade secret has been adopted to provide mass customization clothing solutions.


Any new invention, innovation in terms of a technical aspect, fabric or any material, design calls for patent protection. The Danish biotech company, Novozymes has developed an enzyme and microorganisms named cellulose for the protection of fabrics. This removes some of the indigo dye from the denim in order to provide a worn look. This has now been listed worldwide for the improvement of production methods.

Another inventive fabric is the Suberis by the Italian Company GrindiSrl. It is considered to be smooth as velvet, light as silk, washable, waterproof, stain-resistant and fireproof. This is majorly used in the manufacture of clothing, footwear and sportswear, as well as in many other applications.


Registration enables the inventors of fashion to prevent the misuse or exploitation of the original ideas or aspects or any articles. A vast amount of investment is made in designs and trends which is then shared into the public domain to increase its popularity and expand business operations. Countries such as UK and European Union account for a Design Act for ensuring protection for unregistered designs. India offers mandatory protection under Design Act.

Although the process of registration is expensive and weighty, the practice of registration needs to be adopted so as to restrain unscrupulous competitors from copying some of the most innovative creations and ensure guarantee in the futuristic aspect. Therefore, the generation of an idea marks the advent of a unique feature but that needs to be protected by IP to prevent its plagiarism.




The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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