European Union: Walking The Sustainable Catwalk: Fashion And Designs

Last Updated: 19 September 2019
Article by Jordan Davies

London Fashion Week is almost over, the first shows for the Spring/Summer 2020 collections commenced on 13th September. Many fashion aficionados waited with bated breath to see next season's upcoming trends on the catwalks, as well as seeing which bloggers and celebrities would make it to the highly coveted front rows.

London Fashion Week is an important event for both well-established and emerging brands. Often, trends seen at such prestigious events are made into look-a-like products by high-street stores for a fraction of the price, sometimes in unethical circumstances. Whilst fast fashion, defined as "trend driven, low cost clothing manufacture" , shows no sign of slowing down, there have been an increasing amount of calls from entities such as Oxfam to make the fashion industry more sustainable. Oxfam, for example, is launching its #SecondhandSeptember event this year for the first time. Other innovative concepts in the fashion industry include clothing made from recycled materials and the use of genderless clothing in order to promote sustainability . This movement towards more sustainable fashion has become known as "slow fashion", i.e. "designing, creating and buying garments for quality and longevity."

But what does increasingly sustainable fashion mean for design rights?

UK and EU unregistered designs are some of the most important IP rights within the fashion industry. UK unregistered design rights arise automatically for a duration of up to 15 years from the date of recording or creation of the article, provided that the designs are new and not commonplace. They cover the shape or configuration of a product and may apply to the whole or part of a design. An important limitation is that the UK right does not extend to surface decoration.

EU unregistered design right protects the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture, material or ornamentation of the product for a period of 3 years from the end of the calendar year in which the design was first disclosed within the EU, provided that the design is new and has individual character. EU unregistered design rights have proven particularly valuable in the fashion industry since garments and accessories often feature surface decorations in the forms of repeated patterns or prints. An example of this is Cath Kidston frequently using repeated patterns to decorate its clothing, accessories and homeware.

Given their relatively short protection period, unregistered design rights lend themselves to fast fashion. Generally speaking, fashion trends will only remain popular with consumers for a short period of time (usually a season lasts around 6 months). Unregistered designs arise automatically, meaning designers obtain protection for their designs immediately at no cost, and can start enforcing their rights almost immediately afterwards. For any designs that prove to be particularly popular, designers can make use of a 12 month grace period to choose whether or not to register the design either in the UK or the EU, so long as the application to register takes place within 12 months of the first public disclosure of the design (e.g. at a fashion show or in a lookbook).

As we move towards a more sustainable way of living, including the way in which we purchase clothes and accessories, the scope of unregistered designs may not be long enough to protect designers from copycats. Registered designs may, therefore, become more popular with designers looking to protect key pieces of their collections which prove both popular amongst consumers and have longevity in the fashion world. EU and UK registered designs are available for designs which are new and have individual character, and last for a period of up to 25 years. Upon leaving the EU, the UK will ensure that holders of EU Registered Designs have a comparable UK right, even if there is no deal.

Design applications are relatively inexpensive to file, meaning that they are a cost-effective way for designers to protect their creations. Design registrations offer a 'monopoly' right, which means that the owner of a registered design can stop others from importing and manufacturing goods which create the same overall impression on an informed consumer. Further, with a registered design right there is no onus on the proprietor to prove copying as part of infringement proceedings, making them easier to enforce than unregistered rights. Designers also have the option of deferred publication, allowing designers to apply for protection whilst keeping their designs secret for a period of up to 30 months after filing. This enables designers to hide any forthcoming key pieces from potential competitors. Lastly registered designs are not subject to the requirement of first disclosure in the UK/ EU, as is the case for unregistered rights. They are therefore more accessible to applicants from outside the EU.

In summary, two evolving themes emerging in the fashion industry are fast and slow fashion. As well as spying the latest fashions, we will be keeping a weather eye on how designers tackle recent changes in the industry and whether registered designs will soon start headlining the sustainable catwalks.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions