When Intellectual Property Law Meets Fashion

Beautiful accessories, intricate apparel designs and elegant shoes are combined to enhance your appearance for either everyday wear or a special occasion. Cohesively the effect of the right alignment of these factors is not only fashion magic but also an underlying element of Intellectual Property greeting fashion.

Intellectual Property (IP) Law operates to protect all the elements that are involved in creating the garment, accessory or shoes. A shoe while a functional item can also be the subject of several IP benefits, the classic high heel which is a staple for many women can attract industrial design, trademark, patent and copyright protection.

Each area of IP operates to protect different elements of the shoe; industrial design protects the ornamental aspects of the shoe, a trademark protects a signature inscription or style in the case of the red soles of Christian Louboutin, patents ensures a shoe with a novel constructive feature is secure and copyright safeguards the artistic design of the shoe.

These various aspects of IP can be triggered whenever a designer creates, and it is essential when developing any particular article consideration is given to how each aspect of the design can be impacted. Documenting your creative process is a beneficial practice all creatives should adopt as it ensures evidential proof of the date, time, and place of creation.

With the marriage of technology and design blossoming over the past few years many artisans have migrated from sketching to computer generated two and three dimensional illustrations to bring their ideas to life. It is crucial to save all your work and secure them in the event you will need to defend your creation against an act of infringement by a competitor.

Proper documentation of your creative journey can facilitate easy exploitation of your IP rights and lead to not only artistic accolades but prove to be financially rewarding. Clearly established IP rights can allow the creator to grant licenses to larger companies for their use and lead to endorsements, merchandising and sponsorship deals with investors.

It is therefore critical to assert your IP rights, understand which one is applicable to your design and ensure you take the necessary measures to protect your creation. The design process must be viewed as not only a creative expedition but an inventory analysis of what IP rights arise during construction and are in your possession to maximize your earnings when the law connects with fashion.

Contributor: Akilah Phillip is an Attorney-at-Law and a former media practitioner. As an Intellectual Property Specialist she has worked in the Entertainment Industry for over 10 years and interacted with many facets of the industry from print media, new and upcoming artist and designers to name a few. Ms. Phillip attained her undergraduate degree from the University of London and subsequently completed her legal training at the Hugh Wooding Law School. She is the holder of a Masters in Entertainment Law from the University of Westminster, London.

You can follow her Facebook page Let’s Talk Intellectual Property where she discusses all things relevant to Intellectual Property or email her at letustalkip@gmail.com.

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