If you are a fashion designer, it is important that you consider protecting your intellectual property and trademarks. Australia’s $1.3 billion fast fashion industry is bursting at the seams as more fashion designers enter the industry every year. Without a thorough understanding of intellectual property, it can be difficult to know exactly which part of your fashion business you should endeavour to protect. However, although it might be difficult to identify every piece of intellectual property inherent in your business, there are a few examples that are pivotal to the future success of your business.

Difference between Trademark and Intellectual Property

The term intellectual property is a term used to encompass a number of different legal protection methods. These include copyright, trademark, patent and trade secrets. Trademarks are essentially any mark you use to identify your work or your business on a product and can be in the form of letters, words, diagrams, colours or smells. Therefore, you can see that trademarks can constitute just about anything, so long as it identifies you and your business to customers. Many fashion labels trademark their symbol or phrase word.

Protecting Trademarks in Fashion

Many business owners fall into the trap of assuming that because their trademarks are unique to their business, it will prevent others from using it. However, you should not allow your fashion design business to fall into this trap. If your trademark is not protected, anyone can use it for whatever purpose they desire. If you do not protect your trademarks, you could find a fashion design business set up next to yours, using the same trademark as you. Although immoral, legally this would be a scenario that you could do nothing about if you were not to protect your trademarks.

How Do I Protect a Trademark?

To protect the trademarks of your fashion design business, you will have to embark upon a rather arduous voyage. Registering a trademark can be a daunting task for many business owners as anything you believe to be a trademark of your business will have to be registered with IP Australia. This government body will then compare your trademark with others in Australia and around the world to determine whether it is unique, and thereby able to be registered as a trademark.

Not only will this process be taxing upon you, as you will have to wade through a significant number of procedures, but it can also prove to be a costly endeavour if a business was to challenge the legitimacy of your trademark. Therefore, it is important that you seek legal advice before attempting this process, as it has the potential to save you a great deal of both time and money. Also, having a trademark lawyer who is familiar with your business and trademark can be a great boon in the event another business attempts to unscrupulously use your intellectual property for their benefit. This will allow you to quickly and effectively ensure your business and its reputation is protected.

As more and more fashion retailers enter the industry to target fashion-conscious consumers, more designers are promoting their products in a highly competitive market. To avoid copycats and protect your brand, register a trademark.

Adi Snir

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