‘Design right’ in fashion: the debate.
Yesterday I attended a talk in Holborn held as part of Artsmart 2013 a three week long summer festival of events, activities and workshops to help students and graduates from University of the Arts London get smart and make it happen in the creative industries.
Although the talk was primarily for fashion designers all wanting to protect their work and know their rights as up and coming designers I found it very helpful for my dissertation on copying and in particular copying in the fashion industry.
The speakers were Vin half of High end fashion and multi media designers – Vin & Omi www.vinandomi.com. Alice Stagg, legal adviser at law firm Wragge & Co.
Hosting was a Lady from http://www.own-it.org which gives intellectual property advice for the creative sector.
Alice Stagg talked about covered a lot of material in particular – What is a design right? unregistered community design rights which happen automatically on a new design that has individual character has been made available to the public. This will be protected for three years and enforced throughout the EU.
Where as in the UK it will be covered for 15 years but and its a big but only covers 3D objects, not 2D prints unfortunately. She gave the example of Tatty Devine and Claire’s accessories. Tatty devine named and shamed Claire’s on their website.
This isn’t the first time we’ve noticed this kind of thing at high street retailer Claire’s. Last year, a customer sent us this photo.So what do you reckon? Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think. Please let Claire’s know your thoughts too. You can find them on Twitter, on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re very much hoping Claire’s will be willing to withdraw these pieces.
UPDATED Thursday 23rd February: Following legal advice, we’re now closing the comments on this blog post. Thank you for all the support.
UPDATED Tuesday 28th February: Thank you for all your comments on this post, it’s been very helpful. We’ve had over 200 comments, which we took to a meeting with our legal advisors today. We’ve now removed all comments for review. If you’d like to carry on the conversation, please visit us on Facebook or Twitter.
UPDATED Wednesday 29th February: Claire’s Accessories’ lawyers wrote to us today to say that the dinosaur necklace, fishbone necklace and banana necklace have now been removed from sale. They are not admitting that these designs are infringements, and they have not withdrawn all designs. We are taking legal advice on their letter, but we are pleased to have a response and that these three items have been withdrawn from sale.
UPDATED Thursday 19th April: We’re pleased to announce a resolution has now been reached between Tatty Devine and Claire’s Accessories. Read the official joint statement.
We then discussed why you should register. Vin talked about sending your designs in a sealed envelope to a mutual place such as a bank having them stored their with the date stamped on them. This is a good resolution as registering each design that you may not even use/like eventually would be very expensive.
The case between Zara and Louboutin was brought up in which a French court gave high street retailer Zara the official go ahead to use the red soles. They even ordered Louboutin to pay Zara 2,500 euros as compensation.
Louboutin’s red sole trademark, obtained in 2008, came under dispute last year when he sued YSL for selling a shoe with a red sole. As it turns out, the company also sued Zara in June 2011 for “counterfeiting and unfair competition” for selling a red-soled shoe. The court initially ruled in favor of Louboutin. Zara then issued an appeal, which was upheld on the argument that Louboutin’s trademark specifications were too vague (they didn’t include a Pantone color reference but now do) and that there was no proven risk of confusion between the two pairs of heels.
From this we discussed Lucasfilm Limited v Ainsworth a 2011 court ruling by the Supreme Court in the U.K. The case concerned an intellectual property dispute over the production of Lucasfilm’s Stormtrooper costumes by model maker Andrew Ainsworth. Ainsworth argued that the helmets, which he continues to manufacture and sell, were functional props covered only by design right legislation, as opposed to Lucasfilm’s assertion that they were sculptures or art which fall under copyright law.
Copyright law covers drawing and sketches, handmade individual items but not anything mass made. There is no need for registration and can last for 70 years after authors death.
Then we moved on to trademarks and domain names and discussed internet trolls who hack into websites to see what domain names are being searched and purchase them before the searcher can.
Vin was next to talk and had some great examples such as Yasmin Kianfar v. Topshop http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG9148634/Topshop-accused-of-copying-a-design.html
Natacha Marro V. Jeffrey Campbell
Jeremy Scott V. Jim Phillips
Image found on http://webringjustice.wordpress.com this is a statement from the CEO of NHS, Inc./Santa Cruz Skateboards regarding this issue: We know there is a lot of controversy regarding fashion designers Jeremy Scott’s new Winter collection in regards to the iconic Phillips art work similarities. We are aware and our CEO issued this statement…… “We had never heard of Jeremy Scott until it was brought to our attention,” said Robert A. Denike, CEO and President, NHS, Inc./Santa Cruz Skateboards. “This is not a collaboration or under license, nor did we or the Phillips family approve the use of this artwork on his apparel designs in any way. “It’s obvious to us, the Phillips family, the fans of Jim Phillips Sr. and Jimbo Phillips, and fans of the brand Santa Cruz Skateboards, as well as many in the global skateboard and skate art community that there is clear and obvious infringement by Mr. Scott. We are discussing this with our legal team to determine our next steps. “These two artists and this brand are iconic. Any true fan of skateboarding will tell you how the Phillips artwork style, this brand and the activity of skateboarding has positively influenced their lives. “It may just be artwork to Mr. Scott, to be used and thrown away by next season, but these artists and brand mean a lot to many people around the world. And by the looks of the outcry on social media, skateboarders and non-skater’s alike are angry to have two of their most favored artists and one of the original true skateboard brands violated in such a way. “I hope that Mr. Scott sees that his actions have hurt and affected many people, including the Phillips family, and that he has also severely damaged his own reputation. It is not too late for him to do the right thing, as an artist and creative person, and fix his error in judgement.”
Vin posed ‘Where are you on the morality scale?’ I will be posting on this next.