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The intellectual property in the fashion industry

Since a was a young professional in the digital fashion industry, I found the legal issues caused by the Internet to fashion and luxury brands one of the most interesting areas of research.

Selling luxury items on-line

The first cases I had to deal with were related to the unauthorized sales of luxury products through online channels that weren’t supposed to sell these products. Let’s say for example if you find a chanel bag on sale on ebay, the company Chanel, might not like this because eBay is not considered a luxury outlet.

I’m not saying it’s illegal to sell a Chanel bag on eBay, I personally sold some Gucci 2nd hand items on eBay and it’s perfectly legitimate.

Counterfeits

A completely different matter is when the items sold online are not authentic. This means that the items customers buy online from random sellers may be counterfeits. It can be difficult to distinguish an authentic brand product from a counterfeit from a digital photo. That’s online customers may end up buying counterfeit products by mistake.

One way to prevent this from happening is the use of specific codes that can track back the origin of the product to the manufacturing company.

As of March 1st of 2021, a prominent change is in effect. Louis Vuitton collections of leather pieces and small leather goods will now be embedded with an integrated microchip with information held on a private blockchain.

Love the Bag
Moncler RRID tag
Cloe Handbag RFID tag

Intellectual property registers

We’ve seen how making a copy of a bag or another designer product it’s an infringement of the intellectual property of a company, but we haven’t yet say why. The reason it’s illegal to make a copy of a bag it’s not because of the design of the bag itself but because nobody can use a registered trademark such as a logo or a name of a brand that has been registered at the national or national Intellectual Property offices of a country.

If you want to protect your own brand you should register the brand in all the countries you think you will be selling to. For example you may want to register your brand in the United States, European Union and China. In the case of China you’ll need to register the brand in both latin and Chinese characters.

Fashion Photography and Advertising images copyrights

The right to use and distribute photos of models is generally acquired by paying the staff involved in the shooting and the agency that manages the talents involved in the photo shooting. This is another type of intellectual property that is generally referred to as “copyright”, often represented as (c) + name of the owner and year.

Fashion brands usually hire models, photographers, hair and make-up stylists through modelling agencies when they take photos for their websites (digital production). When

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