• Rosie Burbidge

Intellectual property rights - it's never too early to think about them


Fashion is built on intellectual property rights. The brand is protected by trade marks. The clothing and accessory design by design rights and (maybe) copyright. The advertising and website will include lots of copyright works including photographs and computer code.


If you wait too long to think about intellectual property you may find that there is an expensive reckoning waiting for you. This may mean that you need to rebrand or pay a photographer a lot of money down the line because you didn't secure the rights.


It's never too late to start thinking about intellectual property. So, even if you haven't secured your intellectual property rights from day one, you can and should revisit this decision on a regular basis. An annual audit can catch any problems and make sure that you are not missing opportunities to protect key products.


A year is a sensible time period for a review - not least because of the one year grace period for registration of Community designs. Designs can be registered to protect the shape or appearance of the whole or part of a product. For example, you could apply to register a line drawing of a jacket or the particular stitching detail around a pocket. Selecting the right detail for registration depends on how unusual it is and how strongly it is associated with your brand.


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