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Does Copyright Law Protect Fashion?

person sketching fashion design

Whether you were a kid who loved to play dress up or you developed an eye for style later in life, the fashion industry is a fun, fast-paced environment for creative minds to express themselves through clothing. As a designer, you take great pride in your creations, which makes it devastating to see someone else copy your designs. Keep reading to learn what protections under copyright you can expect in the fashion industry and discover how design copyright infringement lawyers can help you.

What Elements of Fashion Are Protected by Copyright Law?

It’s important to understand that certain elements of fashion design have protections under copyright law.

The most obvious is the physical drawing of a design. Just like any other piece of artwork, your sketches and drawing of fashion designs are original pieces of art, thus covered under copyright protection. Similarly, any graphic designs you put on a piece of clothing, like an original drawing on a shirt, are protected. This is because the law protects art printed on fabric just as it would if it were drawn on paper or painted on canvas.

Similarly, logos are protected under copyright law. This means someone would not be able to sell a t-shirt with the Gucci logo on it, as this element of a brand is protected. As such, if someone steals your logo to print on clothing, they would be in violation of copyright law.

On the other hand, the cut and color of a design are not protected under copyright law. However, there are other avenues for intellectual property fashion designers can explore, like trademarks or patents for their design. As such, there is nothing stopping a brand from stealing a uniquely designed shirt to reproduce and sell it as its own unless the designer takes alternative measures.

What Should I Do if Someone Steals or Copies My Design?

Unfortunately, theft in the fashion industry is nothing new. Whether it’s big brands stealing ideas and designs from independent fashion designers or small sellers taking creations from big brands, this can be frustrating. If you find your design on another website, you may not know what to do. Luckily, you may be able to take steps to remedy the damages.

If it’s determined that the thief stole your sketches or graphic design to sell as their own, you can contact the seller directly. You’ll want to send a letter informing them of your copyrighted material, and you can demand they cease the reproduction and sale of your work.

At CopyCat Legal, PLLC, we understand how frustrating it can be to find the products of your passion being sold on the internet by another party. As such, we will do everything possible to help you hold the thief responsible for their actions. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you through this challenging process.

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