Fashion industry is one of the fastest growing industries in India. Fashion has been on high after Indian fashion designers have gained name and respect of other nations. Indian fashion designers have been on a roll and are now very vulnerable to be infringed by other designers from our country or from the designers of other countries. For this, designers have to get ready and make a mark and safeguard their intellectual property.
Fashion fraternity is slowly getting to know tits and bits of intellectual property protection i.e. their designs and copyrights basically. According to an interview given by Safir Anand, partner of Delhi based IP Practice firm Anand and Anand, “Registering of fashion designer’s designs, copyrights and patents is still in a nascent stage which was initially started by big production houses like Ravissant, Satya Paul and Kimaya and that was due to their institutionalized set-up. Subsequently more designers like Ritu Kumar, JJ Valaya, Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla and Manish Malhotra have set out to protect their trademarks”.(You can read the whole interview here)
Why was IP protection needed?
There were many cases of betrayal where designer’s collaborators and their partners copied their designs and due to no protection on designs they were not able to do anything about it. But with the time fashion designers have come to know about the registration of designs, copyrights and trademarks and they are now going for it to safeguard their interest. Protecting their IP not only helps them to safeguard their designs from copycats but also give them exclusivity on the same which helps them economically and helps culture enhance.
What is the difference between Indian and Global Fashion designers?
Foreign fashion designers protect their work much more better Indian fashion designers. They tend to safeguard their color, shapes, patterns, cuts, styles and insignias and also try to convert them into effective licensing opportunities. Not only foreign fashion designers but foreign fashion houses also do same.
E.g. Designer Christian Louboutin has trademarked red sole of shoes and he sued a famous fashion house, Zara for infringing his trademark.
Another case is of 1998 whereDesigner von Furstenberg sued brand Mango for infringement of Print Pattern Copyrights.
In US Vessel Hull Design Protection Act is provided in Chapter 13 of Title 17 as a part of Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 1998.
In India Copyright Act, 1957 and The Trade Marks Act, 1999 safeguard the IP of a fashion designer.
Indian designers have been negligent about their IP rights and now they are also getting to know about them. They are looking forward to collaborate with big fashion houses and economically exploit their designs and intellectual properties.
What are the common infringements that Indian fashion designers face?
There are many infringements that are faced by Indian fashion designer and these include:
· Distribution of prints that are a colorable imitation
· Reproduction of a designer’s sketches, templates, film tracings and screens.
Rohit Bal, a famous Indian fashion designer was sued by Delhi based fashion designer Vijay LaxmiDogra for infringing the copyright design of later. He alleged that Rohit Bal used the sacred symbol in his designs on actor Ranbir Kapoor.
How Indian fashion designers can evaluate their IP assets?
As we know now that fashion designers don’t have much knowledge about intellectual properties so that, justifies their ignorance of money involved in IP assets. They don’t evaluate their IP assets properly which in turn doesn’t help them gain economically and they tend to lose a lot of wealth. Fashion designers should go forward and enhance their knowledge about intellectual properties and should try to find out potential of all product extensions, skills and licensing. These are the features to which foreign fashion designers look upon and safeguard their IP and also benefit economically. Sarif Anand has also said that fashion designers should go for an IP audit.
As the Indian fashion industry gains attention from international brands and labels, Indian fashion designers are also becoming savvier of their legal rights to protect their designs. Prominent Indian fashion designers have begun to take copyright more seriously and are trying to understand the nitty-gritty of the related laws, said Safir Anand.
For more detailed study how fashion industry can safeguard their intellectual properties and what are the different cases that have been filed in courts please refer to the following post.
The first thing that we get to know from this post is that fashion designers are getting to know more about IP asset management. And this is in their favor only, because more they learn about IP, more will be the chances that they will safeguard their creation and in turn bring wealth and prosperity to nation.