Elizabeth Vulaj, Phillips Nizer Associate
Within the past few years, there has been a range of legal cases filed against fast fashion companies by high-end designers and luxury brands for claims such as trademark infringement and unfair competition. In an industry in which so many designers draw inspiration from their counterparts, many are asking: where is the legal line drawn between creativity and copying, and what legal mechanisms are available to protect designers’ works?
There are three primary aspects of the law that are used to protect an artist’s creative designs and works. Trademark law protects branding terms and symbols (such as Chanel’s intertwined C’s and Louis Vuitton’s LV logo) to help consumers and others identify the source of origin of goods and services. In recent years, creative professionals in the industry have sought to register other nonfunctional aspects of their designs, such as fabric patterns, through copyright law. Some fashion designers have also tried to obtain design patents for distinctive portions of products that are purely ornamental and nonfunctional.
It can sometimes be difficult to understand how best to protect your artistic creations, designs, and creative works. To gain a more in-depth understanding, please follow the link below to my recent article in the Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal relating to how intellectual property protection techniques have had an impact on fast fashion.