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The Three Key Aspects of Intellectual Property Protection in the World of Fashion

Do you understand the intellectual property (IP) issues affecting your business? It is crucial to be aware of these three key aspects of IP protection. Understanding these categories will help you navigate the complex world of IP in the fashion industry.


A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or device used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from others. Any word or letter mark (i.e., your company name), phrase (your tag line), logo or design, or any combination of these can qualify for trademark protection. There are many advantages to trademark registration, including the prevention of others registering and using similar marks, a presumption of ownership and validity, nationwide rights, simplified foreign registration, and the potential to serve as the basis for licensing third-party use of your trademark.


Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. Original prints or drawings, decorative jewelry, and artistic accessories are examples that qualify for copyright protection. Benefits of copyright registration include preventing others from registering and using similar designs, giving a presumption of ownership and validity, and being a requirement to initiate a lawsuit against an infringer. Intellectual property rights are established as soon as the work is created.


A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). There are two types of patents that qualify for protection:

  • Design Patent: The ornamental design of an article for manufacture, such as footwear, handbags, or jewelry. A component of a product may also be protected, such as a watch’s case or band.

  • Utility Patent: Innovation in a product’s functionality, as well as a process or technique, such as the way in which a fabric has been made or a washing technique on a fabric to give it a particular effect.

Obtaining a patent gives a presumption of ownership and validity and the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the U.S.

Overall, understanding IP rights is crucial within the fashion industry. Trademarks, copyrights, and patents serve as useful tools in protecting your business. Each category of IP protection offers considerable benefits, and acknowledging each of them is important.

In need of assistance? Have questions? Contact our office today at (917) 546-6997, we would be happy to speak with you. Let us be your trusted experts in preserving the uniqueness and success of your fashion enterprise.

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