Your legal questions?

I’ve been corresponding with an attorney who specializes intellectual property rights in the apparel industry and he’s agreed to answer some questions from site visitors regarding copyright infringement. We’ll get this segment going just as soon as you pose your questions. I’d prefer that you use the comments feature but you can email them to me too.

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3 comments

  1. Christy Fisher says:

    I attended a seminar at LA Textile that was sponsored by the FBI (Fashion Business Institute)..an attorney addressed the questions concerning copyrights on garments. He told us that a Utilitarian item (clothing) cannot be copyrighted..BUT the graphic design of a print CAN be copyrighted. That is why people can “knock off” the structure of a Luis Vuitton bag (for example)..but NOT if they use the LV logo or print… or they can also copy line for line a YSL dress (as ABS does)and produce it in a similar print, but perhaps less expensive fabric.
    A machine can have a patent on it.. but a skirt is a skirt and a fork is a fork..and they are considered utilitarian items and not copyrightable (according to this attorney).
    Does your attorney agree with this..or is there another point of view in the legal world?

  2. I occassionally do samplemaking for DE’s (hey, I tell them that since I specialize in collaborative clothing, I am NOT the most cost-effective option, but sometimes they’re too lazy to look for someone else). Anyway, occassionally, “their” designs are almost direct knock-offs of the “inspiration” pieces, and this makes me really uncomfortable. but is it illegal?

    And while I’m at it, I know relabeling is legal (like buying an american apparel shirt, removing the labels, and putting your own labels with all the federally mandated info on them), but do you have to make any changes to teh garment before it’s legal?? what kinds/amounts of change make it legal?

  3. Garment design copyrights & patents

    In response to my posting Your legal questions last week, a reader submits this question to Mark Wilson P.C: I have a question regarding legal positions in the apparel industry. I really don’t want to mention specific names of brands…

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