Trade Dress – A Good Fit for Fashion?
United States fashion designers must face the reality that the overall appearance of their garments and accessories can and will be copied. The absence of statutory protection from design piracy is particularly problematic where advancements in digital technology facilitate copying. Are you prepared to move quickly to your next vision, anticipating the last will be copied? Will you instead create a garment or accessory that is impossible to copy at a price point enticing to a design pirate? An alternative to such “self-help” is to find a way to protect your design work, to the greatest extent possible, by adopting existing intellectual property laws.
Fosterfashion will explore the use of existing trademark law by fledging designers in a post later this spring. The IP Section of the State Bar of Michigan recently invited me to comment on the use of trade dress claims to protect fashion design. As I concluded in the recent edition of IPLS Proceedings, trade dress claims can be a very good fit for an established designer.