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Creativity and fashion go hand in hand. Like music, art, and literature, every fashion item starts as an idea. 

If you’ve put time and energy into creating a new clothing line or fashion item, it’s important to know how your intellectual property can be protected. One legal safeguard is copyright.

Does fashion need copyright? 

In the fashion world, copyright protects graphic designs, artistic works, literary works and works of artistic craftsmanship. 

This means that protection can be given to fabrics, surface patterns and any graphic elements shown on a garment, whether a shape, badge or wording.

Copyright arises automatically, without registration and vests in the creator of the copyrighted work. As long as your work is original and unique, it will be protected by copyright, and you can enforce it against third parties. 

How can I copyright a fashion design?

Let’s say you have an idea for a new spring collection. Although the ideas attached to the designs of the clothing items cannot be protected, once an original idea is ‘put down on paper’ or is somehow otherwise made into something tangible, copyright may automatically arise to protect how your original idea has been expressed.

How much does it cost to copyright a fashion design?

Because copyright arises automatically so long as the work is original, copyright costs nothing. However, if someone infringes your copyright, you will likely incur legal costs when enforcing your rights.

A note on originality, although the threshold is usually a low one, concerning fashion products, copyright protection will generally only be applied to works that demonstrate a significant degree of craftsmanship.

What should I do if someone infringes my fashion copyright?

If you believe another business or person has infringed your fashion copyright, you need to speak to an intellectual property solicitor immediately. They can write to the infringer and demand they withdraw the copied items. If the infringer ignores the letter or refuses to comply, it may be necessary to look at resolving the dispute through mediation or, as a last resort, bring court proceedings.

The law around fashion copyright is complex and can be unclear. You may wish to safeguard your creations through a UK unregistered design right for extra protection.


Affordable copyright legal advice


Get legal assistance from LawBite

Defending copyright infringement can be complicated. LawBite’s intellectual property lawyers are experts in copyright law and will give you the advice and representation you need to protect your creative rights.

If you have any questions about copyright infringements, please do not hesitate to contact us. To book your free 15-minute phone consultation, visit our intellectual property service page or call us on 020 3808 8314.

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In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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