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.


Articles on Related to Fashion Law

  • Is That a Patent, Trademark or Copyright?
    If you wouldn’t know a patent if one bit you [1], you are not alone. Most of the public doesn’t know the difference, and there are lawyers who are uncertain of the differences. Today, though, you are lucky enough to have this article in front of you to learn the difference. Bear in mind, however, this is just an overview. If you want to know more, refer to the footnotes.
  • Copyright Protection for Architectural Works & Other Designs
    What Does Copyright Protect? Copyright law protects original works that are fixed in a “tangible medium of expression.”
  • Defenses to Allegations of Copyright Infringement
    There are numerous defenses available to a copyright infringement defendant.
  • Elements of a Copyright Infringement Claim
    A copyright infringement action requires a plaintiff to prove (1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2) actionable copying by the defendant of constituent elements of the work that are original.
  • What is Copyright Infringement?
    Copyright infringement can cost a business owner or the creator of a copyrighted work dearly. Not only does the owner or creator of the work now have to contend with attempting to sell or use his or her work in a marketplace that also contains the unauthorized reproduction, but the owner or creator is at a distinct disadvantage in that he or she has invested the time and resources into creating the copyrighted work and needs to recoup these costs whereas the competitor is not in such a position.
  • Band Agreements, Band Entities, Band Trademarks and Copyrights
    In order to avoid disputes later, a band needs a band agreement which states how the band will divide their profits and which provides how decisions shall be made, how departing band members will be paid and the rights to use the band name after a break up or a band member departs. With the advice of a music lawyer, the right business entity can be chosen, and a music attorney in California can be utilized to obtain copyrights, and trademarks for the band name.
  • Literary Agency and Publishing Contracts: What Attorneys and Writers Need to Know
    A writer who signs a literary agency agreement or a book publishing contract without having it reviewed and negotiated by a literary rights or publishing attorney risks not having any idea how the terms contained in a ten to thirty page publishing contract can harm them. Scams abound in the publishing world and writers need to be aware before they sign a contract that obligates them to pay to have their book published and to purchase their own books.
  • The Importance of Intellectual Property Protection in Fashion
    More than many other industries, fashion thrives on the ideas, concepts, designs, and other creative contributions of its personnel.
  • You Can Stop Trademark Infringement
    You have gone through the painstaking process of starting a business, developing a brand for your business, namely, your business’ trademark, invested significant time and resources into this development, and suddenly you discover another business is using your exact trademark or a similar one. What can you do?
  • What Is Fashion Law?
    While the worlds of law and fashion may seem as far apart as one can imagine, legal matters are inseparable from any career or aspirations in the fashion industry. To understand why fashion law is so important, one must start with what it is and why it should matter to you.
  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

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