Fashion Law - Guide to Fashion Law
What is Fashion Law?
Fashion law refers to a specialized area of the law that deals with legal issues affecting the fashion industry. Primarily, fashion law relates to intellectual property rights (i.e., copyright and trademark law), contracts and commercial transactions (both domestic and international), employment and labor laws, and customs.
Although a highly focused sub-specialty, Fashion Law is a quickly growing field. Several American law schools and design schools have even dedicated programs to the topic of fashion law. This is an acknowledgment of the increasing need for attorneys specialized in the unique idiosyncrasies of the fashion industry as opposed to other, similar industry specialty fields like entertainment, arts, and sports law.
Fashion houses and designers now face unique challenges specific to their industry, requiring attorneys who understand the advantages and disadvantages of various types of intellectual property protection, particularly in light of the seasonal nature of the fashion industry. Moreover, the increased availability of counterfeit goods, such as “knock-off” designer handbags and dresses, the risk of threats from so-called “copyright trolls,” and laws relating to the use of "hazardous materials" in consumer goods have created interesting new challenges for the fashion industry and the fashion lawyer in particular. Similarly, the fashion industry deals with unusual international supply chain issues,and very specific employment-law concerns, such as the use of minors for fashion modeling or as labor in overseas factories. Consequently, while fashion law is a fairly new specialty area of practice, it is gaining momentum and sure to a major focus in years to come.
For more information about fashion law, please review the resources below. Additionally, you can find an attorney in your area who specializes in fashion law by clicking on the Law Firms tab on the menu bar, above.
Fashion Law - US
- AAFA - Anti-Counterfeiting and IPR Issues
Congress and the Administration continue to be active on efforts to strengthen intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement. A law (PL 109-81, Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods) that was enacted in March 2006 to provide tougher penalties for the trafficking in counterfeit hangtags and labels has already had some results and will continue to help law enforcers prosecute counterfeiters.
- Design Law in the European Fashion Sector
Following the entry into force of the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement in the European Community, Dr. Fridolin Fischer, an attorney-at- law in Zurich, Switzerland, and author of “Kleidermode – Phänomen ohne Rechtsschutz?”, an analysis of legal protection for fashion designs, discusses in this article for WIPO Magazine the relevance of design law in the fashion sector.
- Design Piracy Prohibition Act
An Act to amend title 17 to the United States Code, to extend protection to fashion design, and for other purposes.
- Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act
Senator Schumer has introduced a new fashion design protection bill called the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act. The bill represents a compromise as compared to its highly problematic predecessor, the Design Piracy Protection Act (DPPA) which would have put 90% of independent designers out of business (and me along with them). The proposed new bill represents a compromise between the AAFA and CFDA. We also have your voices and advocacy to thank for making this possible.
- Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act
Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act - Amends the federal criminal code to revise provisions prohibiting the trafficking in counterfeit goods and services to include trafficking in labels or similar packaging of any type or nature, with knowledge that a counterfeit mark has been applied to such labels or packaging, the use of which is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive.
- United States Copyright Office - Protection for Fashion Design
The Copyright Office submits this written statement to the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property in connection with the Subcommittee's July 27, 2006 hearing on H.R. 5055,
- United States Patent and Trademark Office
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the Federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. In doing this, the USPTO fulfills the mandate of Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, of the Constitution that the Executive branch "promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries."
Organizations Related to Fashion Law
- American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA)
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market.
- Arts of Fashion Foundation
The new challenge for the American fashion industry as well as for education would be the adoption of a copyright law for fashion design with the Design Piracy Prohibition Act.
- Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)
The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc, (CFDA) is a not-for-profit trade association that leads industry-wide initiatives and whose membership consists of more than 350 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. In addition to hosting the annual CFDA Fashion Awards, which recognize the top creative talent in the industry, the organization offers programs which support professional development and scholarships, including the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the Geoffrey Beene Design Scholar Award, the Liz Claiborne Scholarship Award, and the CFDA/Teen Vogue Scholarship. Member support is provided through the Business Services Network, a high-profile group of companies offering designers strategic opportunities.
- Fashion Law Center
The world of fashion may soon be substantially transformed by Congressional passage of a proposed new law known as the U.S. "Design Piracy Act." As every fashionista knows, the fashion industry thrives on trends and therefore on imitation. The question frequently arises, how much is too much? When does "inspiration" verge on theft? That Diane von Furstenberg knockoff you saw for sale at Forever 21 – is that legal? Today, U.S. law differs markedly from European Union law in that the U.S. does not provide for the legal protection of fashion designs. While certain elements of a garment or fashion item may be protected (trademarks, fabric prints, and accessories, for example), the actual design of a garment cannot be protected.
- Harper's Bazaar - Fakes are Never in Fashion
Thinking of buying a fake? Get real. The Harper’s Bazaar Fakes Are Never In Fashion™ campaign is dedicated to exposing the criminal activities connected to the sale of counterfeit luxury goods—child labor, drug trafficking, and even terrorism.
- International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition
The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition is the world's largest non-profit organization devoted solely to protecting intellectual property and deterring counterfeiting. Our membership spans from automotive, apparel, luxury goods and pharmaceuticals, to food, software and entertainment. From the small privately owned companies to large multinationals, we share one common goal–to combat counterfeiting and piracy.
- My Authentics
Myauthentics.com is the new website from The Authentics Foundation for all the latest counterfeiting news. Here you will find accurate information on how to spot fakes on the high street so you can make smart, safe choices. We also want to let everyone know about the issues surrounding counterfeiting and how it affects you on a daily basis. Take a look around the site to find out more about what we do and how counterfeiting affects you!
- Stop Fashion Piracy
Design piracy, the blatant copying of another's designs, is akin to counterfeiting without affixing the fake designer label. Sadly, because of a lack of adequate legal protection, design piracy has become a way of life in the fashion industry in the U.S. Design piracy is unfair to designers and is detrimental to competition within the fashion industry. It effectively allows others to plagiarize the original designer's creative ideas and reap the benefits of the creator's labor and assumption of risk.
Articles on HG.org Related to Fashion Law
- Patent FAQ: When Should You File a Design Patent?In general, a “design patent” protects the way an article looks, as opposed to a “utility patent” that protects the way an article is used and works. In some cases, an invention possesses both functional and ornamental characteristics, and both design and utility patents may be obtained.
- Copyright Office Proposes New Protection for Pre-1772 RecordingsThe U.S. Copyright Office recently recommended that sound recordings made before February 15, 1972 be brought under federal copyright law. Under the current copyright regime, recordings made before that date are protected under state law.
- Is it Illegal to Buy Counterfeit or Knockoff Designer Goods?Every year, millions of Americans visit the little bodegas and shops, often located in ethnic ghettos of large cities, to purchase counterfeit or knockoff designer goods. Others buy these items online, at flea markets, or dozens of other locations. Wherever one goes, there is some question as to the legality of such transactions. After all, one is knowingly buying a product that is a copy of a trademarked and copyrighted work. Is this legal?
- Every Book Ever Written Soon to be Searchable on the Internet Thanks to Fair Use DoctrineVirtually anyone who has used the Internet outside of China has heard of the search engine giant Google (China blocks Google and has its own domestic search engine). But, many did not know that in 2002, one of Google's founders, Larry Page, had a plan to put every book ever written on the Internet. The plan stalled after legal troubles, but may now be back on track thanks to the Fair Use Doctrine.
- Private Investigator Busts Long Beach Restaurant for Copyright InfringementA private investigator walks into a bar… This is not the start of a bad joke, but the crux of a recent California copyright infringement case decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers filed the lawsuit against the owners of a popular Long Beach restaurant and jazz lounge after discovering that it was playing copyrighted music without a license.
- What is Plagiarism?Perplexing and scary, the concept of plagiarism has long been the bane of students everywhere. Whether something is plagiarized and what that means has long been a matter of some uncertainty, however. So what exactly is plagiarism and is it against the law?
- TV Streaming Service Hits Roadblock Under U.S. Copyright LawIn a major victory for broadcasters, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a preliminary injunction against ivi, Inc., a company that streams television programming live and over the Internet. The appeals court ruled that its service likely infringes the copyrights of major broadcasters like NBC, ABC, and FOX, which had filed suit to keep the new technology offline.
- Copyright FAQ: What If I Want to Use a Pseudonym?Sometimes, authors want to their true identity to remain hidden from the public. For instance, popular author Dean Koontz has written under at least eleven pen names. Many often wonder if authors who use pen names or pseudonyms can still copyright their work.
- The Dangers of Knock-Off ProductsImitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to stealing someone's product design it may be the basis for both civil and criminal liability.
- DOJ Monitoring Antitrust Implications of Patent TransfersThe U.S. Department of Justice continues to monitor the potential antitrust implications of patent portfolio transfers, particularly in high-tech industries like wireless. In recent remarks at the Fordham Competition Law Institute’s 39th annual conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy, Acting Assistant Attorney General Joseph Wayland discussed how the DOJ is working to “balance patent rights, competition and innovation in the information age.”
- All Business and Industry Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Business and Industry including: agency and distributorship, agency law, business and industry, business formation, business law, commercial law, contracts, corporate governance, corporate law, e-commerce, food and beverages law, franchising, industrial and manufacturing, joint ventures, legal economics, marketing law, mergers and acquisitions, offshore services, privatization law, retail, shareholders rights and utilities.
- All Intellectual Property Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Intellectual Property including: copyright, domain names, licensing law, patents, trade secrets and trademark.