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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5685/copyrights-in-fashion-designs/

Copyrights in Fashion Designs?

September 27, 2006 by

Fashion Has No Owner by Albert Esplugas and Manuel Lora–discusses the latest attempt to continue proliferating IP rights: from trade secrets and trademarks, we get federalization and expansion in the form of federal trademarks, antidilution protection, and making trade secret theft a federal crime…. to statutory creations of copyright and patent, then we have special protections for semiconductor maskworks and boat hull designs (I kid you not), aborted attempts to protect compilations of information (databases–you know, a list of facts, like, oh, I don’t know, a telephone book)… and now, an attempt to give a special right to fashion designs. They ought to have a special IP to protect the creativity of the people who keep thinking up this stuff.

{ 1 comment }

Artisan September 29, 2006 at 7:43 am

Once again, talking of IP, the problem is not very clearly described. There’s an obvious confusion (not necessarily Mr. Lora’s) between copyright and patent in the case of fashion design.

There are great designers, but you could hardly invoke an artistic copyright on fashion (except for the original drawings) because fashion dresses aren’t merely artistic. The function of a dress is to be worn by a body (part). That function is therefore relatively independent from the designer’s individuality and even if a very original dress was completely “reverse engineered”, that is not to be assimilated to plagiarism, since it fulfils independent requirements of that “utensil” like keeping you warm or “decent”.

Under current laws, you could argue I suppose that fashion design is patentable in a limited way, since a dress has a function… and of course you can argue that cheap imitations of design, by deceiving the customer through the use of an unauthorized trademark are inflicting a material harm to a company and its standards of quality.

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