The luxury of fashion law


María del Pilar López and Esteban Monge

The fashion scene brings more and more fans willing to pay large sums of money to feel and look good about the apparel they wear.

This increased interest has caused the fashion industry to face challenges that were not common in past decades. Fashion law has become a brand new legal specialty that involves several issues of IP rights—particularly trademark law and copyright law, although it can also include patents and trade secrets. Patent and trade secrets become relevant when the fashion company has developed a new manufacturing process or method. For example, Lululemon® and its design patent on women’s yoga pants waistbands. The Canadian company that made yoga apparel fashionable filed a patent lawsuit in 2012 against Calvin Klein and its supplier G-III Apparel Group for direct and indirect wilful infringement of the company’s yoga pant design patents. The case was brought before the US District Court for the District of Delaware and was voluntarily dismissed a few months later, based on a settlement between the parties.

Fashion design ideas commonly involve protecting the designer’s brand or identity and the designs themselves. To that end, the designer’s brand or identity is usually protected with the application of trademark law. It is well known that a trademark is one of the most valuable assets of a company, and in the fashion industry a well-situated campaign or the latest trend of a top fashion house could have a big economic impact. The target market of fashion law is large retail chains, high fashion houses, models, designers, manufacturers, photographers and others.

They must have adequate protection under national legislation in order to promote the growth of the industry and the creativity of designers.

fashion, trademark, counterfeiting, Calvin Klein,

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