Exclusivity and uniqueness are the cornerstones of the fashion industry. From Louboutin’s iconic red-soled pump to Burberry’s famed trench, brands pride themselves on creating exceptional albeit timeless pieces. So what prevents a rival company from simply replicating success? Which begs the age old (and hotly debated) question – can clothing be copyrighted? The answer is anything but black and white.
The issue of clothing and copyright laws has recently come under the microscope when the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments over the graphic designs of cheerleader uniforms that have been called into question. The US Copyright Act does not currently provide protection for “functional” aspects of clothing, but as the law has been spun into a patchwork of protections to do with design patents, trade dress, and copyrights over the years, this case could bring greater clarity to copyright protection for the aesthetic elements of clothing and costume design.
In this episode of Fashion Counsel, partners Anthony Lupo and Michelle Marsh discuss copyright laws and their applications (and road blocks) to the retail sector. Stay tuned, as the Supreme Court is expected to render a decision regarding the copyright case discussed above in the spring of 2017.
Fashion Counsel's Executive Series offers analysis and key points of law impacting Fashion executives. Fashion Counsel host Anthony Lupo, partner and leader of the firm’s Fashion, Luxury Goods & Retail practice, conducts one-on-one interviews with fashion CEOs and business leaders.
About the Fashion, Luxury Goods & Retail Group
Arent Fox tailors counsel to meet the daily needs of fashion and luxury-brand companies. Composed of 28 seasoned attorneys who represent the world’s top high-end manufacturers and retailers, the Fashion practice serves as outside general counsel and regulatory and retail counsel to internationally known brands.