Design fakery and copying has been a major issue in the fashion industry for over a century, and the rising trend of ‘counterfeit chic’ in recent years has brought the issue back to a head.
But fashion law is a fast-growing area and your designs and products are offered protection against potential losses caused by copying and counterfeit goods. At First4lawyers, we can help brands, businesses and individuals defend themselves.
Contact us today for a chat about how best to protect the intellectual property rights relating to your designs and fashions.
What is fashion law?
Every article of clothing and every fashion accessory are subject to laws that affect each item’s production, distribution, trade and usage. The work of designers and creators of fashion items is protected by a range of UK and European Union design and copyright laws.
Copyright protects you against the possibility of a third party using your design or product for financial gain. If your design is original, and was created by your own skill, judgment and creativity, then it will be protected by the Copyright Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988.
Your designs will receive further protection if they are registered. By taking the necessary steps to register your design, you will have exclusive rights to its use for 25 years. As long as your design is new, non-offensive, and does not make use of protected emblems or flags, then registering will protect its appearance, physical shape, arrangement and decoration against copying.
If you do register a design, you must renew it every five years in accordance with government guidelines. If you do not, then ownership of the design rights belongs to the designer, and not to any person or company who has commissioned them to create the work.
Your work can also be protected by patent law, which prevents any attempt to manufacture, use, sell, or import your design or related products without your permission.
My work in design and fashions has been exploited by someone else without my permission – what should I do?
If you believe someone is using a design that you created, you can contact them to make them aware they are in breach of copyright. If your design is registered, you can make them aware of this too, and aim to reach an agreement whereby they cease to infringe your copyright and trademark. You’re able to discuss these things with a solicitor beforehand, however.
Should this other party refuse to cease the infringement, you may be able to take them to court and pursue damages for loss of earnings, or wrongful earnings on their behalf.
The process is somewhat delicate, as if the third party feels they are being wrongly threatened, they can attempt to sue you, and this can lead to an expensive court case.
Where to turn
By speaking to the experienced team of specialists available via First4lawyers, you can get the advice you need to establish the strength of your case and the best way to proceed.
Contact us for a no-obligation discussion about how to best protect your design and fashions against copying, infringement and counterfeit goods.