IP Protection of Fashion Design: To Be or Not To Be, That is the Question

by Xinbo Li, University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)

from Volume 3, Issue 1 (Fall 2012)

Download this Article in PDF format from The Jerome Hall Law Library’s Digital Repository.

Abstract: Fashion design is different from other human creations protected under intellectual property law because of the short life cycle and minor differences in the products of fashion design. In the digital age, with dissemination happening quickly and widely via the Internet, imitators find it much easier to take a “free ride” on creative fashion design, sometimes even before the original fashion products go to the market. Meanwhile, fashion design lacks current intellectual property rights protection, creating a loophole for the protection of fashion design in the legal system. As a human creation, should we protect fashion design under IP law? What kind of intellectual property right should we choose to protect fashion design – patent, trademark or copyright? Protection of fashion design; to be, or not to be, that is the question.