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The Relationship of the Fashion Industry and Government Agencies

In the fashion industry, various government agencies play essential roles in ensuring product safety, protecting intellectual property, and overseeing import regulations, among other things. These agencies have varying responsibilities and regulate different aspects of the fashion industry.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office  

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the federal agency responsible for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks.  Through this office, the protection intellectual property is administered, which includes designs, patterns, formulas, business names, logos and more.

As USPTO believes protection is critical to fostering innovation, it makes a big effort to stop the proliferation of fake merchandise under its “STOPfakes” program.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. 

As it applies to wearing apparel, CPSC has oversight of the Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA) which regulates the manufacture and sale of highly flammable clothing and interior furnishings.  Some examples of other standards that have been established by CPSC are for vinyl plastic film used in clothes, carpets and rugs, children’s sleepwear, mattresses and mattress pads.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife  

Do you sell products made of python, crocodile, or other animal skins?  What about those of seashells, corals, or plants?  If so, you need to pay attention to this agency

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) works to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife and plants through its mission to protect wildlife and plant resources with a focus on reducing or eliminating their illegal trade and unlawful commercial exploitation.

For more information on the FWS rules pertaining to commercial activities, including selling, importing, and exporting shipments containing wildlife, check out this link:

U.S. Department of Commerce 

The International Trade Administration, within the U.S. Dept. of Commerce (DOC), is responsible for the promotion of U.S. exports.  It supports U.S. businesses looking to expand abroad through its U.S. Commercial Services offices to assist sellers with market research, trade events, introductions to foreign buyers and counseling.  It hosts trade events, seminars, and offers webinars to assist exporters and those considering exporting, figure out how to do so.  DOC also has Export Assistance Centers across the U.S. where direct services may be obtained.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission  

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has oversight of labeling disclosures on clothing and home fashions, along with the marketing statements made about those products being sold, including those stated on a company’s website.

The FTC protects consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace that could lead to economic injury or raise a health or safety concern.  It does this by conducting investigations, suing companies and people that violate the law, developing rules to ensure a vibrant marketplace, and educating consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities.  

U.S. Customs & Border Protection

With nearly one-third (1/3) of the total of 11 million maritime containers arriving at U.S. seaports, 11 million arriving by truck, and yet another 2.7 million by rail at our land borders being wearing apparel or textiles, as an importer of these products you need to be aware of the laws implemented and enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as they relate to importing.  CBP is responsible for knowing what goods are coming in to the country, whether they pose a risk to the American people, and for ensuring that all proper revenues (i.e., duties and other monies) are collected from importers.

U.S. Copyright Office 

Whether a print or a drawing on fabric, clothing or a handbag, the U.S. Copyright Office is where authors of "original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished, can be recorded for protection

Have questions? In need of assistance? Give our office a call today at (917) 546-6997, we would be happy to speak with you.

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