3 IP Strategies to Protect Fashion Brands Against Counterfeits
The fashion industry is a worldwide force with brands that literally have factories and stores all over the globe. According to data, the apparel market’s revenue worldwide in 2021 overcame $1.54 trillion and is expected to go over $1.7 trillion in 2022.
While this may seem like a lot of money, we also need to consider the sheer diversity and dynamism of this market. The fashion industry is fast-paced and there’s always a new season to look forward to.
However, the transient nature of these products leaves the fashion industry quite vulnerable in the face of counterfeiting since it’s very difficult to keep track of low-quality copycat products. That’s why standard protection methods (like the ones used to protect brand image) don’t work in this scenario.
Therefore, in order to maintain their presence on the market and avoid being cheated out of their own niche, fashion brands must adopt different IP protection strategies. For this, they will need the assistance of IP law experts, like Heer Law, who have the necessary expertise to understand the weaknesses and strengths of the market.
And, to give you an idea of how things work, we will discuss a couple of the most popular IP strategies used by fashion brands.
1. Trademark Protection
Trademark protection is still an effective tool, but only if you register your brand name and key sub-brands around the world. This needs to happen as early as possible in the development of the brand. Plus, it’s a good idea to register your trademark wherever you want to expand in the near future and where you would like to reach someday.
Trademark rights are recognized almost all over the world and law enforcement agencies will react if knockoff products are being sold under your brand. After all, everyone knows about lookalike labels that try to imitate the overall appearance of a big brand with a small change.
2. Copyright Protection
Copyright is a more flexible form of IP protection that can work against copycat products that don’t use the branding (they just rip off the design). Since copyright is protection that arises naturally (doesn’t necessarily need registration), a fashion brand can claim the original design and ask for everyone else to drop it.
However, for this to work, the design must be original and respect the requirements of copyright work in that specific jurisdiction. For instance, UK law will only accept a fashion design as copyright if it is an “artistic work”.
3. Blockchain Technology
Lastly, fashion brands (especially luxury brands) can use blockchain to protect against counterfeiting. Once a product is minted on the blockchain, you can tell if you are purchasing an original or a copycat.
Moreover, blockchain can help regulate production and manufacturing, which is a real problem in the world of fashion. With blockchain, you can know exactly how many people want to buy your products so you don’t have to produce excessively and then have the ones that didn’t sell destroyed.
Still, blockchain is most common in the world of luxury fashion brands (who also use fashion NFTs) as regular consumers are not used to this technology yet. Still, it can be a strategy to keep in mind for the future since the technology is incredibly promising.
Even though the fashion industry is one of the top-grossing markets in the world, brands are still losing a lot of money to copycats and fake brand representations. Plus, the industry needs to find a way to deal with overproduction and the environmental problems it causes.
Now, while things may seem a bit grim, it’s important to keep in mind that there are effective protections in place and various things are expected to change in the near future.