Artists’ intellectual property is protected by copyright, which means they cannot duplicate or reproduce their designs without their permission. Clothing is referred to as a ‘useful article’ on the other hand. Consequently, you cannot copyright the clothes or even the design, and that’s what makes it difficult to copyright. Certain design elements of clothing, such as logos or other decorations, can, however, be protected by copyright. We will learn how to copyright different aspects of clothing designs in this article.
Copyrighting – What Are the Different Steps?
The following steps are involved in copyrighting clothing designs:
- Find out if your logo or decoration qualifies for a copyright. Logos and decorations are only eligible if they were created by you and took considerable time and creativity. In addition, ensure that your logo or decoration is unique and has not been copied by anyone else
- On the US Copyright Office’s website, fill out the copyright application. You must enter your contact information and information about the logo you wish to copyright. Mailing an application is much more expensive than submitting it online
- Payment can be made via any preferred method.
- On the form, you will find an address where you must send two hard copies of your logo. No matter how you file, this is required.
What Are the Best Ways to Protect Our Designs?
Apparel, shoes, and bags can be designed with protectable elements. Clothing, bags, and shoes are commonly emblazoned with a brand’s logo. You can also make prints or artwork. In contrast, to be protected by copyright law, prints and artwork must be original and have an artist’s distinct style.
To be considered original artwork, a sunflower print made from a Google image is not sufficient. To distinguish the sunflower drawing or sketch from others, it must have distinguishing features.
Aesthetic features can also be incorporated into designer’s products. In order to qualify for copyright protection, a feature must be separate from and exist independently of the product’s utilitarian purpose. An example would be the design of a sculpture on the handle of a bag. Jewelry can be made from it as well as decorative materials.
Is copyright protection available for fashion designs?
Fashion designs may be protected by copyright, but there is conflicting information. Depending on the circumstances, some experts would say ‘no’ and others would say ‘yes’, and both are correct.
The definition of ‘fashion designs’ depends on your perspective. It is possible to define a fashion design in many ways. Sketches could be referred to. A signature color, fabric, or other element could be referred to as a signature. We will examine the different elements of fashion and their copyright nature
Colours are not protected by copyright under the fashion or clothing domain. Copyright is not the best way to protect a signature colour or a unique colour scheme in your fashion design. This does not mean, however, that you cannot protect your intellectual property. Trademark protection may be available in these cases.
If you create original sketches of your designs, they are protected by copyright law. Your sketch cannot be copied, distributed, displayed publicly, or used in any other way without your permission. While copyright protects original expressions of work, it does not protect ideas. Because the protection is in the drawing aspect of the design rather than the idea, others are able to create similar fashions based on your sketch.
Design elements are not protected by Copyright by the way they are cut and assembled. It was stated by the United States Supreme Court in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands that copyright does not give anyone a right to prevent others from producing clothing with identical shape, cut, and dimensions. You are still free to explore other options, however. Your creation may be protected by a design patent. Unlike copyright, a design patent can prevent others from reproducing clothes that look similar to yours.
Design on clothing is protected by copyright in the same way that design on canvas or paper is protected. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands determined that ‘two-dimensional designs appearing on clothing’ include ‘combinations, positioning, and arrangements’ of shapes, colours, lines, and so on.
Design of textiles
Design imprinted on or in fabric can be protected by copyright, especially if the design contains an adequate amount of creative expression.
In this article, we have discussed in detail the copyright system and process for clothing and fashion apparel. The article also explained how different elements of clothing or fashion designs can be protected under copyright law, and what alternatives can be used in such cases if the rights cannot be protected. A copyright law does not protect facts or products that serve a useful purpose.
The purpose of clothing is to serve a practical purpose. The primary function of clothing is to protect our bodies. Bags and shoes are no different. Shoe shapes – pumps, sneakers, flats – and bag shapes are not protected by copyright. In order to be able to freely walk around, we need shoes to protect our feet. In order to protect different design elements under the copyright law, there are a variety of categories under which they can be classified.