Intellectual Property Rights in the Fashion Industry

Intellectual property rights play a major role in the fashion industry. It protects the design and preserves the uniqueness of each and every design from counterfeiting. A minor breach of intellectual property rights will result in a substantial loss for the company. Now learn more about the Intellectual property laws that protect the fashion industry

Recently, Intellectual property rights were issued to the Indian army for the latest camouflage pattern and design of improved combat uniforms. As per the intellectual property rights registration, this combat uniform ownership was provided to the Indian army by the controller general of patent design and trademarks. 

The exclusive intellectual property rights of the design and camouflage pattern are given to the Indian army. As a result, manufacturing them by any vendor is not authorised and will be considered illegal and faced with legal action. 

Fascinating right? Will this also apply to the dresses you wear? Let’s find out. This article will explain in detail into intellectual property rights and how they apply in the fashion industry. Let’s start from the basics.

What Are Intellectual Property Rights?

Intellectual property rights are a set of legal powers provided to a particular individual or an inventor who has created a design. Using these intellectual property rights, one can prevent plagiarism or copying by competitors for a predetermined period.

The applicant or the inventor can use their creation without any hindrance. It is crucial to avail permission from the owner of a particular creative to use it. 

Types of Intellectual Property Rights

There are 5 major types of intellectual property rights in India namely.

  • Patents 
  • Trademark 
  • Copyright
  • Industrial design
  • Geographical indication

In some regions plant variety rights, trade dress, and trade secrets are also provided. Each of the intellectual property types is used in different scenarios.

The Fashion Industry and Intellectual Property Rights in India

When it comes to the fashion industry, intellectual property rights are paramount. Fashion, an expressive way of art, is highly dynamic and can be easily counterfeited in the highly competitive market. IP’s like registration of trademark provide complete protection from copying multiple designs in the fashion industry. 

Trademark law has one of the major impacts on the fashion industry. Brands like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein cash in on their brand values, and a trademark  registration is of paramount requirement.

It protect the designs made by various fashion designers under multiple categories. Relevant IP rights can be used per the requirement to safeguard the fashion industry. As previously discussed, These rights in India protect multiple fashion designers under the following three Acts.

Apply for Trademark Online 

The Design Act of 2000

This Act is drafted to protect an object’s non-functional aspects, including visual appeal. Under this Act, one can protect a particular shape, configuration, pattern, or composition of colors in two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms. The particularly registered design can be protected for 15 years.

In case of any piracy of the registered design, the owner can initiate legal action against the infringer and collect a contract debt of ₹25000. They can also initiate legal action in case any harm to the reputation occurs. The design registration is high time bound and one of the fastest IP registration processes. You can register your designs directly through Vakilsearch

The Indian Copyright Act of 1957

Under the Design Act of 2000, fashion designs will automatically be protected by copyright. The Copyright Act of 1957 protects designs not registered under the Act. Under the Copyright Act of 1957, they are entitled to 15 years of protection if they meet the artistic work criteria. Section 15 of the Copyright Act of 1957 covers the commercial and industrial use of original works for industrial production or furnishing.

To effectively enroll your design under the Act, the following aspects must be met. 

  • The design has to be an original artistic work
  • Make sure to carry the required documents to prove the originality of the design to register it under the Act
  • The particular garment or design derived from the creation should  be applied and should not be reproduced more than 15 times by the industrial process, by any other person or the owner.

The Trademark Act of 1999

Making your mark in the highly competitive and dynamic fashion industry is crucial. Your fashion business benefits from a trademark registration in this way. The top registered brands in the fashion industry include their registered brands when designing clothing and accessories. Since the logo now functions as part of the design, trademarks offer strong protection against imitations. In addition, the Trade Marks Act 1999 protects trademarks that protect brand names.

Protection Under the Geographical Indications Act of 1999 

A classification of items that fall under the Act’s is provided protection in the Fourth Schedule of the Geographical Indication Act, 1999. The protection of fashion clothes through the texture and creative worth of the fabric used to make apparel and accessories is demonstrated by the registration of geographical indications. 


Intellectual property rights are crucial not just for fashion but any creative industry. At Vakilsearch, we have the best intellectual property lawyers who can provide clear insights into this process. If you are planning to file a provisional patent, or any other IP functions, it’s high time to get in touch with our experts. We provide patent search, patent registration and online trademark registration with utmost ease. Get started now!

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