The fashion industry is the Wild West of intellectual property law. Fashion design protection is essentially non-existent, and designers take what they want when they want in the form of inspiration or complete copying. As technology advances and enables fashion designs to disseminate at high-tech speeds, there is no longer room for an apathetic approach to fashion intellectual property. If the law is a means for protecting the hard work of up-and-coming artists and providing incentives for innovation, changes must be made.
This note demonstrates how the fashion industry can adopt a copyright and licensing scheme similar to that of the music industry to protect designers’ intellectual property while conserving industry norms of creative inspiration and fleeting trend cycles.