Fashion design copyright law?

I am a dress maker. I have been asked to copy some fashion designs from a clothing catalogue. Please could you tell me what the copyright law is on this. If I copy other fashion designers designs to sell will I get in trouble??? How is it that the high street and some internet websites sell copies of fashion items and dont get in trouble?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It's only illegal if you try to sell the copy as an original. If you attach the name brand insignia, trademark, or tags that would be infringement of copyright law.

    For instance, if you make a Sport shirt and stitch a small polo player riding a horse just over the left breast of the shirt, that would be infringment on Ralph Lauren's Polo line. But the same shirt without the polo player, or even with some other unique character in it's place, would not be infringement.

    Some particular patterns are considered Trademarks, like the "C" pattern on a Coach handbag. You can make a handbag which is absolutely identical to a Coach bag, as long as you don't copy the "C" pattern on the bag.

    And, of course, you can't put an labels in the clothing which actually claim the clothng to be authentic. You could replicate Levis pants, just as long as you don't put the little red "Levis" tag sticking out of the side seam.

    It's ok to copy fashion... it's not ok sell a copy and call it authentic.

    It's assumed that the name brand article of clothing will be of better quality and that the value of the clothing lies not in the fashion at all but the brand name itself. I guess the fashion world never read Romeo and Juliet (A rose by any other name?).

    So... as long as you don't sew any tags into the clothing or copy any trademarks, you'll be ok.

  • 1 decade ago

    You need to be careful. Some things are trademarks that you might not expect, such as the Burberry check pattern.

    Copying something too obviously can be a breach of copyright or of design rights (do not know much about the latter). Trademarks are registered designs or parts of designs or words or colours.

    The designs you see on the High Street are probably just different enough to avoid trouble; but even so there have been cases of chain stores having to pull items out of stores under threat of being sued.

    Of course, if they think you have deliberately set out to copy/rip off their copyright/trademark you could be prosecuted. Depends on scale though - local trading standards have a duty to enforce trademarks and copyright but probably won't bother if it is just a few items or for a one -off occasion.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    "In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work." 17 U.S.C. § 102(b) A pattern is a procedure, process or method of operation, for making something. The specific instructions for making the item might, might, qualify for copyright registration but that copyright only would cover the written instructions, not the patterns or what was made from the patterns.

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