Intellectual Property Rights & Fashion

Intellectual Property has a shelf life of a banana

-Bill Gates


In today’s world, fashion plays an important role in the lives of all people. Because of the world’s dynamic character, fashion is transient and changes regularly. People have grown image concerned because of the emphasis placed on design, appearance, and clothing. People modify their fashion according on their mood and occasion, and fashion can be regarded a trait of originality. Fashion designers must be compelling in introducing uniqueness to their designs in order to attract a big number of buyers. Fashion encompasses a wide range of elements, including jewellery, style, make-up, and footwear. Fashion designers must ensure that their creations are not infringed upon. The intellectual property rights come into play here. In plain terms, intellectual property rights are the exclusive rights granted to the owner of a one-of-a-kind creation for a set length of time under the act’s requirements. Intellectual property rights are intended to protect expression rather than ideas.

IPR and Fashion:

In the fashion industry, the term “fashion piracy” refers to the unauthorized and unlawful reproduction or copying of a previously created design. The term “fashion piracy” has two definitions: knockoffs and counterfeits. A knockoff is a near-identical replica of the original product that is sold under a different label. A counterfeit is a perfect replica of an original fashion design that is sold under the same label as the original, sometimes known as a phoney product. IP protection is used by the industry to defend designs from knockoffs and counterfeits.

The following categories of IP are used to give strong protection for fashion designers’ designs:

  • Designs in classes 03, 05, 02, 10, and 11 of the third schedule are protected by the Designs Act of 2000.
  • The colour combination is protected under the Copyright Act of 1957.
  • Logo designs are protected by the Trademark Act of 1999.
  • Material or fabric used in a design or art is protected under the Patents Act of 1970 and the Designs Act of 2000.

Copyright and Designs in Fashion Industry:

Small-scale shops manufacture duplicate reproductions of famous designers’ designs and offer them to clients at low prices, resulting in copyright concerns. “The owner who has registered his design is entitled to secure a copyright for the corresponding design for a period of ten years from the date of registration, according to section 11 of The Designs Act 2000.” However, from the date of the original ten-year tenure, which has ended, a five-year extension can be granted. Because fashion is not constant, the designer faces challenges in exercising the rights that he obtains after registering his creations. The copyright plays a significant role in the creator’s life in order to respect the creativity and uniqueness of the artwork or design. If a registered design is used without the owner’s permission, it is considered infringement, and the person who commits the infringement is subject to penalties under the Copyright Act. Under the Copyright Act of 1952, any artistic creation can be protected for a term of 60 years.

Trademarks in Fashion Industry:

Signs, logos, quotations, symbols, and, in the fashion sector, brands are all covered by trademarks. In the sector of fashion, brands are extremely essential, and because fashion patents are more difficult to get, fashion firms will go to considerable measures to safeguard their unique brands. As a result, many fashion companies rely on trademark protection instead. Trademarks are less expensive and easier to get than patents, and they usually take less time. Unfortunately, trademarks have the problem of not being able to protect the full article/product; instead, they can only protect the emblem or symbol on that thing.

Patents in Fashion Industry:

To be patentable, a creation must be useful, original, and innovative. Patents are not available for artistic creations, thus they may not immediately come to mind when discussing the fashion sector. Furthermore, because fashion trends change frequently, obtaining a patent is not worthwhile, and patents can be prohibitively expensive until a design can be duplicated year after year. Technical developments, on the other hand, might place a fashion company ahead of the competition. Fashion patents give producers exclusive legal rights to their creations, whether it’s a product, design, or procedure in the fashion industry. As a result, a company/creator can protect its intellectual property rights by getting a patent on a novel creation.


As fashion is connected with creativity and individuality, understanding the value of intellectual property rights is essential for staying ahead of the competition. As a result, a tiny worker who has been concealed behind a brand name can come out and exhibit their talent, register their design, and reap the intellectual property benefits. India continues to lag behind developed countries in terms of linking fashion and intellectual property rights. There has been a lot of fashion piracy recently, when small-scale retailers produce knockoffs of well-known brands and sell them for cheap, therefore there is a need for fashion designers to be aware of this in order to safeguard their work and encourage uniqueness. If the administration of intellectual property rights is done properly, the brand’s goodwill will be enhanced.


  1. Namrata, Fashion industry and challenges for IP protection, Blog iPleaders,
  2. Shilpa Kumari, Role of IP in Fashion Industry, Mondaq,,own%20intellectual%20property%20(IP).

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.


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