CRS Report - Copyright Protection for Fashion Design: A Legal Analysis of Legislative Proposals in the 111th Congress

CRS Report - Copyright Protection for Fashion Design: A Legal Analysis of Legislative Proposals in the 111th Congress

Authored by the Congressional Research Service:

Summary

Fashion design does not currently receive explicit protection under U.S. copyright law. Limited avenues for protection of certain types of apparel designs can be found through trademark and patent law, though proponents of copyright protection for fashion design argue that these limited means are insufficient. Legislation has been introduced in the 111th Congress, the Design Piracy Prohibition Act (H.R. 2196) and the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (S. 3728), that would provide a three-year term of copyright protection for fashion designs. The bills resemble each other although contain differences. For example, for a fashion design to enjoy protection under H.R. 2196, the designer must register the design with the U.S. Copyright Office; S. 3728 contains no such registration requirement. Instead, protection arises under S. 3728 upon the design's creation, although the design must be a sufficiently "unique, distinguishable, nontrivial and non-utilitarian variation over prior designs for similar types of articles." This is a more restrictive definition of "fashion design" compared to H.R. 2196-thus, presumably, fewer fashion designs would qualify for protection under S. 3728 compared to H.R. 2196.

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Attachment: CRS Report- Copyright Protection for Fashion Design.pdf