Fashion has come a long way to get to where it is now, along with the fast-paced life. With shows like Gossip Girl, Sex in the City, Emily in Paris, and Scandal, consumers’ need for a celebrity wardrobe is growing. This has resulted in the production of counterfeit fashion garments and accessories. It is estimated that the counterfeit sector generates $250 billion every year, with the government having no idea where the money goes. Furthermore, the fashion business has a significant impact on the economy, making black marketing easier. The terrible aspect is that people are unaware of the dangers of buying counterfeit goods; to them, it is completely innocuous. It is unlawful to produce products, but it is not criminal to purchase them. In both America and Europe, there are laws in place to deal with it. The current intellectual property legal framework is insufficient to safeguard the fashion industry. The reason for this is that the laws do not correspond to the duality of fashion’s fundamental character. Weak rules and a lack of enforcement are the reasons that designs can be easily replicated. The author of this essay discusses the fashion industry’s inadequate protection through intellectual property law, as well as the issues it faces as a result of these limitations.  

HOW DOES INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECT THE FASHION INDUSTRY?  

Fashion designers have a few options for protecting their designs and brands, but they are restricted. Trademark and copyright laws may be used to protect the brand, as well as trade dress and design patents.  

Trademark Laws  

The importance of reputation in the fashion industry cannot be overstated. The brand’s logo must be distinct to be easily recognized. “A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one firm,” according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The uniqueness of a trademark is significant because when it is registered, it is protected beyond the acquisition of rights through the use of the mark. The exclusive owner of the goods or services linked with the registered mark is the proprietor of the registered mark, and this is how a fashion brand in the fashion industry can protect its brand through trademarks.  

Copyright laws  

The Copyright Law also allows a lot of room for clothing protection. However, because fashion is built on ‘inspiration,’ creating an authentic work that is not taken from anywhere would be difficult. Copyright, on the other hand, simply protects the expression of an idea.  

Lady Gaga’s infamous “meat dress” was an expression that deserved to be trademarked. Nobody has come up with the concept or implemented the idea of wearing ‘meat’ to hide body parts. Getting protection based on the color of the job, on the other hand, is immaterial.  

Design Laws  

Unlike trademarks, copyright laws provide access to design protection. To be protected under design, one does not need a well-known name or brand; all that is required is a worthwhile work of art. The process is identical to Copyright, but the design contains 3D prints, patterns, and shapes.  

Trade dress  

The separability test is used by the US to give protection, whereas the EU does so as a whole. Trade dress refers to the product’s overall image and look, which can include color, form, size, texture, and sales method. To be registered under trade dress, a source identity must be developed.  

Patents Law  

Design patents and utility patents are the two types of patent protection available. A design patent for a garment can be applied for if the dress is unique in terms of shape, color, pattern, or overall design. To be eligible for a design patent, the product must be unique and have never been seen before. A utility patent, on the other hand, is more difficult to get because it protects the functional use of things. It is valid for the next 20 years from the date of the grant. Products eligible for a utility patent may also be eligible for a design patent, but it is exceedingly rare that a good eligible for a design patent will also be eligible for a utility patent.  

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES THAT IP PROTECTION CONTINUES TO FACE?  

The fashion industry’s key issue is that they may distinguish themselves from rival businesses by registering their brands as trademarks. The Star Athletica case presented an opportunity to rethink how fashion law is practiced, with a focus on copyright laws for protection.  

Wearing clothes is purely to cover one’s body for the vast majority of the world’s population. However, dressing up and employing various accessories is a passion for certain individuals, and as a result, they demand and buy stylish goods at a low price, giving rise to counterfeit markets and posing a challenge to designers who labor day and night to bring the best out of an outfit. With the rise of fast fashion, the newest collection is sent right from the runway to the retailers. The enforcement becomes difficult in this case. The whole existence of the universe is in jeopardy.  

Position in foreign countries  

The United States and the European Union are two of the few countries that have fashion design legislation. In comparison to European law, American law has largely disregarded the fashion industry, resulting in far more cases involving “fashion piracy” than the European Union. European designers have benefited from legal protection that American designers do not have. IDPPA is in charge of fashion law in the United States. The US government passed fashion design regulations on March 30, 2006, in response to an upsurge in “fashion piracy.” Over time, changes were made. Chapter 13 stipulated that fashion protection would be granted for three years. Following the case of Star Athletica, LLC vs. Varsity brands, designers are hoping to obtain design patent or utility patent protection, even if the process is lengthy, to prevent their product from being misused. This occurred as a result of the court’s decision in the case, which stated that only designs that serve a utilitarian function are eligible for copyright protection. Following this incident, trade-dress became popular as a kind of sucking protection, and the reliance was no longer primarily on copyright.  

Legal protection in EU  

The European Council established the Legal Protection of Design (a European Directive) in 1998. It established guidelines for determining who was eligible for protection. The owner is awarded exclusive rights for a period of twenty-five years. This law protects both registered and unregistered designs. One major distinction between US Fashion Law and EU Fashion Law is that the US uses the separability test to protect, whereas the EU does so as a whole.  

CONCLUSION  Because fashion law is a new branch of law, it is critical to take a fresh approach to it. Fashion law has an unmistakable impact on society and the economy. Because the items are both creative and derivative, the fashion sector is unpredictable. Because it is widely consumed, it has had a significant commercial impact. High consumption and a high price are incompatible. It is here that the term “piracy” is born. It’s also important to approach this niche with a fresh perspective because while the difficulty is the same in each state, the protection is not. The laws aren’t all the same. There is a substantial difference between the United States’ Innovative Design Protection Act (IDPA) and the European Union’s Legal Protection. And because there is no fashion legislation in the country, the contrast between IDPA and the European Union is inconceivable. The designers have sought refuge under copyright regulations, but this is insufficient. This conclusion might be drawn from the case of Star Athletica, LLC vs. Varsity brands, where copyright law was found to be quite reliable.  

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