Fashion Industry is one of the most innovative and emerging sectors. Every single day new products and ideas are brought up. Innovation and new ideas are the key factors in the fashion industry and hence no one can doubt the importance of IP protection and rights in the creation and marketing of products in the fashion industry, be it high fashion, luxury goods or ready-to-wear. Yet, it is neglected when it comes to the smaller or the local sector, to protect these intellectual assets. In the present business environment, the primary source of competitive advantage for all businesses, including those in the fashion industry is original creative expressions and innovation.
The fashion industry is growing better and faster than ever. Since fashion is not just restricted to clothing or apparel but also extends to luxury goods and therefore Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) has been a great impact in this sector. IP rights in global fashion is significantly growing its importance as fashion designers have frequently complained about their designs being pirated or copied. Such so-called plagiarism is plaguing the growth of this industry and hence, needs to be curbed.
The different aspects of IP in fashion or any other industry is: copyright, trademark and patents.
Copyright is the protection for original literary or artistic work. It includes the creative element of fashion design and cannot include the physical functionality. While the article of clothing itself cannot be copyrighted but the design of the products can be copyrighted, such as print pattern.
Trademarks cover signs, logos, quotes and symbols, and in the fashion industry, brands. Brands are incredibly important in the field of fashion, and since fashion patents are harder to get fashion companies will go to great lengths to protect their unique brands, for this many fashion companies use trademark protections instead.
Trademarks are cheaper and convenient to get as compared to the patents and generally takes less time to obtain. But unfortunately, the flaw with trademarks is that it cannot protect the entire article/product, it can only protect the logo or symbol on that product.
A creation needs to be useful, novel and innovative in order to be patentable. Although artistic creations cannot be patented and hence, patents may not immediately come to mind while talking about the fashion industry. Also the trends in fashion often change every moment, so getting a patent is not worthy, and also patents can be highly expensive until there is a design that can be repeated each year. However, technical innovations can equally put a fashion business ahead of the competition.
Fashion patents provide the creators the sole legal right for their creation, be it a product, design, or process related to the fashion business. Hence, by obtaining a patent on a novel creation, a company/creator can protect its right to its own intellectual property (IP).
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.