IP rights protection in the fashion industry

In recent years, intellectual property – IP rights have played a pivotal role in the growth of the highly competitive global fashion industry. Amid breakneck advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs), supply-chain logistics, social media and an evolving buyer culture, IP rights and their protection are likely to become ever more central to the fashion industry. How fashion companies protect their IP rights in the rapidly changing fashion business is always a big question.

In general, an IP object such as a fashion design could be protected in the form of copyright, trademark and industrial design. However, each of IP objects has its own advantages and disadvantages.

IP rights protection of a fashion design by copyrights

Fashion designs are obviously protected in the form of copyright which is automatically recognized when ideas are materialized on paper of textile. However, the protection by copyrights for fashion designs in fact does not cover their creativity and distinctiveness as copyrights only cover a fashion design’s appearance not its content. Therefore, the other parties may take the opportunities to exploit its content to manufacture products for sale and in fact it is difficult to define “stealing idea” to conclude on copyright infringement.

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IP rights protection of a fashion design by trademark rights

Trademarks are imposed on products to distinguish goods by different manufacturers. A fashion design if functioned as a trademark would be registered and legally protected by trademark rights. Specifically, in case a fashion design is distinctive enough to differentiate products and trade dress of a fashion designer or a fashion company, it is eligible for trademark protection, the textile design by Louis Vuitton is an example.

Besides, a fashion designer or company often utilizes its trademarks by imposing them on their fashion designs and chooses runway as a way to announce and promote their products. In practice, the value of products are not in the quality of textile or materials but in imposed trademarks and designers’ name.

IP rights protection of a fashion design by industrial design rights

In terms of legal protection, filing an application for industrial design is the most effective way to protect a fashion design. However, due to prolonged examination and announcement of an industrial design, other parties have more opportunities to get to know and infringe the targeted industrial design.

In addition, the lifespan of a fashion design in fashion business is usually short and requires seasonally updated design. Therefore, until being granted with certificate of industrial design, such fashion design has become of out date and even of not much commercial values.

The more developing the fashion business is, the more important IP protection of a fashion design becomes. Fashion designers should as quickly as possible file applications for IP objects and get their works legally registered and protected.

For some more advance trend and analysis, you can visit the article posted on WIPO magazine here

Intellectual Property Services in Vietnam

In order to protection your IP rights, it is necessary to register your assets now. For comprehensive and quickly advice, please do not hesitate to contact ANLIS IP – an Intellectual Property Agent/Services in Vietnam. We are available for any inquiry and questions.

Hotline: +84-899-88-6060

Whatsapp/Viber: +84-366.469.436 for instance advice.

Email: info@anlis.vn for general matters – ip@anlis.vn for intellectual property matters.

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