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Written by:
Prachi Sethi
Published on

People in these modern have a general liking for fashion, and they like to show off their fashion sense by purchasing items from various brand names. However, every person does not have a good purchasing power which in turn becomes a limitation to such an attempt, which is where spurious goods or duplicates of original inventions come into play. When a design or an invention gets popular, others begin to blatantly make spurious goods, resulting in damage to the goodwill and enormous loss to the owners of the original items. Even though most copying is done by secretive firms, branded corporations also may sometimes take advantage of a flaw in the rules to duplicate and manufacture items that belong to another brand. The fashion sector is hampered by counterfeit items of well-known brands, and we regularly see media headlines of complaints dealing with and selling spurious goods through various trade channels, including sale over internet portals. One could wonder how all of this relates to the larger notion of intellectual property rights. The fact is that IPR and fashion are inextricably linked. The designs that are acknowledged as fashions are the intellectual works of an individual, and the legislation of our nation aims to preserve such inventions by granting the creators the exclusive right to utilize such inventions and exploit them for monetary gain.  Following the same idea, the legal system attempts to foster creativity by encouraging more individuals to come up with inventions that may eventually drive an economy's growth. If the aforementioned rules fail to properly safeguard creativity, the nation will suffer a significant loss because no one will ever come forward to develop and no new ideas will be actually presented. As a result, there is a strong link between fashion and intellectual property rights.

Currently fashion in India is majorly regulated by Intellectual Property laws such as Copyright Act 1957, The Trademarks Act, 1999, Designs Act 2000, and Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.


A trademark recognizes a product and its origin, ensures its quality, advertises the product, and generates market goodwill for the product. Trademark law also assists in differentiating between genuine and fake or spurious goods. Trademarks are also essential in the fashion market since they protect a brand name, its identity, design, symbols, and features of fashion clothing capable of distinguishing such outfit from others. The fundamental objectives of trademark law in the fashion industry are in high demand. Its primary focus is on three issues:

  • Grabbing the consumer's attention;
  • Security to the owners of the trademarks
  • The fashion market is highly competitive.

To capture consumers' attention in a crowded market, trademark owners must create their items or commodities in a distinctive manner or advertise their products in a variety of methods. They must register their items under trademark law in order to protect the brand, image, logo, and sign of their products or commodities.


The term "copyright" refers to the legal protection of original works. Fashion is a type of art that is used by artists to design apparel, footwear, and other accessories. Copyright laws safeguard artistic design work, as stated in Section 2 (c) of the Copyright Act, 1957. Section 15 of the Copyright Act, on the other hand, establishes the specific provision respecting copyright in designs registered or capable of registration under the Designs Act, 2000. Under this Act, copyright does not exist in any design that has been registered under the Design Act, 2000. This clause makes it quite apparent that Copyright and Design are inextricably linked. The fashion industry is a type of design, and the above-mentioned fashion designs are trustworthy and suitable to Copyright Law protection.

Fashion design is a unique artistic work that can be registered under the Design Act, 2000, but it does not remain protected under the Design Act, 2000 instead, the design enjoys protection under the Copyright Act, 2000. The design is protected under the Copyright for ten years from the date of registration as a Copyright.


A patent is a new innovation that incorporates new technology for manufacturing items such as footwear, fibres, fabrics, and so on. Patents are required for the commercialization of inventions. The Patents Act prohibits artists from obtaining patent protection for their creations. Patents are granted for innovative inventions that benefit the public. The fashion sector cannot get patents for their machinery; nonetheless, technical advancements provide their machinery with a significant boost in the economic market. To create their products in the market, the fashion business makes (such as clothes, footwear e.t.c.) its products with the assistance of technical invention.



The design should be registered in accordance with the Design Act of 2000. The Copyright Act safeguards registered designs as well as the rights and interests of the design's owner. The act's principal goal is to safeguard artworks from invasions of privacy. Unregistered designs are not protected by the Act, and no one may sue for damages based on an unregistered design. The fashion business relies on designs to help them imagine their items in the market.


Dior initiated a lawsuit with Pietro Beccari, chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture against a scam artist that sold fake books of Dior book tote bag which was a part of dior’s summer collection, in Italy, noting in the aftermath of a preliminary ruling that the ruling in the Court is "important, because it means that Dior can take legal actions against anybody using his motive, even though he does not use the name of the brand. The District Court of Genoa assessed that particular component of the popular tote bag specifically the five-stripe motif that initially appeared on the frequent customization of bag are effective in showing a single origin of goods, and staing the same the court held that the placement of the stripes on the popular tote bag act as a legally-protectable trademark for the 75-year-old, LVMH-owned luxury brand, in just the same way that the Dior Homme logo does. These five consecutive horizontal stripes benefit from unique trademark protection as a distinguishing Dior trademark, allowing Dior works to be identified independently of the Christian Dior inscription.


The fashion business has developed substantially in recent years, fuelled by liberalisation and supported by good implementation and execution of legislation. However, it has been observed that most designers fail to safeguard their intellectual property through the legal way.

While it is true that it is generally difficult to completely eliminate spurious goods from the market and prevent others from copying the same, if the invention is safeguarded properly, it minimises the risks of loss by minimising damage. As a result, it is critical that the creators of intellectual property stay vigilant and work hard to obtain adequate protection for their work. In addition, the government must analyse the recent trend of spurious goods and adopt a sui generis legislation especially relevant to the fashion sector in order to safeguard the country's intellectual property and, generally, to improve the country's economy.