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  • PGCL Moot Court Society

FASHION LAW DECODED


- Riya Shah


“The joy of dressing is an art.” - John Galliano


Indeed! Art is a way of communicating oneself; fashion is also a form of art. The fashion industry is one of the most well-known and rapidly developing sectors because of its creativity, style, and innovation. Our lives are heavily influenced by "fashion," and individuals are more likely to purchase goods from brands that have a solid reputation in the marketplace. The main goal of the art form known as fashion design is to produce clothing and other items used in daily life.


Intellectual property Rights-

The privileges granted to a person over the works of their imagination are known as intellectual property rights. Copyrights and industrial property, such as patents, trademarks, and geographical indications, are the two categories that they fall under. The issue is that when a brand becomes well-known, competing brands or businesses frequently duplicate its success, costing the original product's creators a fortune. This also affects frugality, which causes problems. Here, the importance of IP becomes clear in order to safeguard the rights and originality of fashion-related products.

Artisans, as custodians of traditional knowledge are rich and full in skills and values. They are not simply a skilled workforce but a unit of expert collaborators and need to be regarded as equal partners. Many partners claim to be guiltless or to be unaware of any wrongdoing. Often it is true, it’s unwilling and it might be out of ignorance but there is a lot of work that needs to be done to make sure that designers should be aware that it is not OK.


Protections available under IP that can help develop a brand:


TRADEMARK- The logo or label can at least be protected by trademark protection, which is usually insufficient to protect a complete clothing or accessory. Any sign or symbol that allows a brand or affiliation to stand out from other brands or associations of a similar nature might be considered a trademark. It is governed under Trademarks Act, 1999. The brand communicates a lot, without expressing a single word. The McDonald's M logo, the Puma Jaguar, and other symbols fall under the umbrella of trademarks

Terms of Protection- If the renewal payments are paid every ten years, a Trademark is first registered for ten years and remains so indefinitely.


COPYRIGHT- Section 2(c) of the Copyright Act, 1957 protects such creation of the designers from being exploited or copied. Under the Copyright Act, 1957 the original design of the designer gets protection. Copyrights are the rights given to the creator in literary, artistic, and musical work so a piece of work cannot earn copyright protection. In this circumstance Designs Act, 2003 comes into the picture.

Term of protection - In addition to the author's lifetime, an artistic work has a sixty-year copyright duration. The protection is reduced to 25 years from when the work, if a design is industrially exploited (which will usually be the case for textiles and fashion designs).


PATENTS- Any invention is covered under patent law. Patent acts as an incentive to allow creative minds to invent more. It has an exclusive and monopoly right. For E.g. The Light Bulb was invented by Edison. This ensures that others cannot vend, use or make one’s invention without their authorization. Empowering one’s invention helps in a greater return on their investment.

Term of Protection -For all kinds of inventions, the patent's validity period is 20 years from the filing date.

INDUSTRIAL DESIGN- A product's external appearance, such as its shape, surface, pattern, etc., is protected, but not its internal functionality. For E.g. The Harpic bottle even without the logo one can identify it because of the shape.

Term of Protection-For the first five years after the application was submitted, registration safeguards your design. A second five-year renewal of the design registration is possible, up to a maximum of ten years.


Fashion Thrifting is a point of discussion in the city among today’s youth. Fashion Thrifting is a feasible option to pull off our sustainable style statements. Thrifting or copying alternate vesture lets you step into the world of sustainable fashion in the simplest way possible. Intellectual property rights of holders depend on The Doctrine of First Trade meaning once a palpable copyrighted work is vended legitimately for the first time, the original brand proprietor loses rights to the item and the client is free to do anything he or she desires with the item be it re-selling or donating. That is why you must have heard of re-selling electronic bias, cabinet networks, clothes, etc. on apps like OLX and Meesho at second-hand prices.


The Delhi High Court issued a perpetual injunction in case of Louis Vuitton Malletier vs Atul Jaggi, restraining the defendants from influencing and passing off the infamous trademarks "Louis Vuitton " and "LV" by using similar marks. The complainants contended that the use of the name or initials of the brand are all registered in India and hence complainants were granted damages. Additionally, it was claimed that designers might develop diverse product attributes in addition to logos or brand names.


Puma initiated a lawsuit against Forever 21 in another case of Puma vs Forever 21, stating that the defendant copied three Fenty models created by Rihanna: The Fur Slide, the Bow Slide, and the phenomenally popular Creeper. The charges of trademark dilution violation, brand violation, and deceptive designation of origin were denied by the court. Rihanna wasn't identified as an artist on Puma's brand operations or as an investor on Puma's design patent, the court determined.

The demand for fashion is increasing exponentially in India and has significantly risen in the past ten years. Fashion design is an assiduity where some designs trace back to pre-existing designs and is problematic. Numerous large fashion houses are now empowering their trademark to small product houses and therefore creating huge returns. For illustration, Armani is operating three different lines i.e., Armani Exchange, Giorgio Armani and, Emporio Armani and, thereby, limiting the act of pirating. The Government should also take way and pass effective and efficient laws which can be a boon and a relief to the contrivers’ therefore promoting creativity and invention in all situations.


Riya Shah is third year student at Pravin Gandhi College of Law, Mumbai.

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