Interview: Susan Scafidi, professor, Fordham University School of Law
Susan Scafidi – a Fordham University School of Law professor who worked on the fashion copyright bill – talks exclusively to Karen Bolipata about IP protection for the fashion industry and why it is the emerging designer who needs it most
There are trade mark and design patent protections
for the fashion industry. Why the need for copyright
The core of fashion really falls through the cracks between
patents and copyrights and trade marks and trade dress. We
police that line between copyrights and patents. Fashion
doesn't fit into either easily. It's excluded deliberately from
copyrights because it's utilitarian, but it doesn't tend to
meet the very high bar for patents. Design patents take so long
and are so expensive to get.
With respect to trade marks, of course fashion has
reasonably strong protection but only for labels and logos. But
the designs themselves - the most creative part - are left out.
With trade dress, if iconic it can be elevated. But that's a
vanishingly small number of designs.
In so many cases when dealing with copying a fashion design,
it's done without copying the label or the logo, especially
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