Do Fashion Designs Have IP Protection?

Do Fashion Designs Have IP Protection?

Fashion is one of the most fast-paced and ever-evolving industries that are imposed worldwide. For this reason, it is important to protect the Intellectual Property (IP) rights that emanate from these creations. IP has become a key element in the multi-million-dollar fashion business and has contributed to the growth of business and strengthened the role of companies in the market.

Generally, Intellectual Property (IP) in Malaysia comprises patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright, geographical indications, plant variety and layout designs of integrated circuits.

Industrial designs are one of the most effective ways to protect new fashion creations. By their registration, the owner of these rights can prevent third parties from using their designs without their consent. An industrial design refers to the features of shape, configuration, pattern, or ornament applied to an article by any industrial process which in the finished article appeal to the eye and are judged by the eyes. It can be a two-dimensional (2D) shape such as a textile print, which has certain characteristics that give it a new physiognomy, which distinguishes it from other similar articles, or a three-dimensional (3D) shape such as a belt or wallet, or in a combination of the 2D and 3D shape.

In certain situations, fabric designs, and surface decorations can be protected under copyright. In some countries, such designs are considered works of art. However, it is important to mention that copyrights do not seek full protection on useful items, which causes a dilemma, since clothing is considered a useful item. Therefore, there only certain aspects of clothing design are protectable. However, in this new era, social network platforms have become the way in which many promote content on these platforms. Those contents or any promotional materials used are protected under copyright.

Other than that, fashion designers also need to think of the brand or logo for their creations in addition to a design, for example, on clothing labels and/or on “hang tags” and to place the logo on the garment itself. In the world of fashion, trademarks are the visible face of clothing creations. People usually know them, identify them and prefer them through the trademark or brand.

However, there are few cases of such special designs being created and providing a solution to a current problem. For example, the design is created to ease the user or use technologies that allow clothing to be more resistant to water, UV rays or even fire, or have a material that is not wrinkled or that is antibacterial, among others. This kind of creation can be protected under patent protection. Although patents are not the most used in the fashion industry, they are often very useful to protect and encourage further technological innovation, and therefore create a more powerful brand, since it will undoubtedly have more attraction for partners and investors in a highly competitive market.

This article brought to you by Exy Intellectual Property.