The Fashion Industry is an Intellectual property-intensive industry as it is that industry that involves the continuous creation of new and innovative ideas that are commercially exploited. On one side the Indian Design Industry is flourishing while on the other side it is facing the menace of piracy. Hence, it is only apt that design is protected as counterfeit products and knockoffs are sold more than the original product. More often than not, the fashion designer is constantly complaining about unauthorized third parties imitation and copying.
Fashion design piracy, what is it?
Simply put, it the unauthorized and illegal production and distribution of original registered work. This is broadly categorized into a) knockoffs b) counterfeits. Knockoffs are those products which are the exact replica of original one but the brand name will be different. Counterfeit are products which are exact replicas of the original which also retain the original name of the brand.
Positive and Negative
Licensing your registered design is one of the ways to climb the ladder to achieve the success and well and richness. However the biggest positive is that you have the exclusive right to restrict others from using your registered design and sue for the damages when they infringe your right. On the other hand, the biggest downside is, that there is very limited protection for an unregistered design. It’s so outdated, is the phrase that the consumer starts using once a particular design or a pattern has crossed it imaginary expiry date. Fashion Industry is a place where there is a constant flow of design and pattern and what generally happens is that once the latest design is out in the market, the previous design that was ruling the market becomes outdated.
In one of my earlier posts on how to file a design application in India, I have mentioned the conditions that need to be satisfied for a design to fall under the definition of design under Section 2 (d) like it has to be original and must not have been disclosed to the public. Under the act (Section 2 (c)), a registered proprietor gets a copyright in the design which means the exclusive right to apply to any article in any class in which the design is registered. This means the act affords protection not in a particular article but against a class of articles. Some of the classes under which goods manufactured by fashion designers may fall under are:
Class 02 – Articles of clothing and Haberdashery (garments, headwear, footwear, socks etc.)
Class 03 – Travel goods, cases, parasols and personal belongings, not elsewhere specified (trunks, suitcases etc.)
Class 05 – Textile piece-goods, artificial and natural sheet material (textile fabrics, ribbons etc.)
Class 10: Clocks and watches and other measuring instruments, checking and signaling instruments (watches and wrist watches etc.)
Class 11 – Articles of adornment (jewelry etc.)