Summary of Fashion Bill

cropped-logos_Lux_Law_Firm-2-11.jpgBy Caroline Lau, Staff Writer, AMD Law with Summary Provided by Aurelia Mitchell Durant, Esq., AMD LAW

The Innovative Design Protection Act (IDPA) introduced by Senator Charles E. Schumer in September 2012 was recently passed in Congress, with the purpose of extending copyright protection to fashion designs. Under the bill, articles of apparel such as clothing, handbags, purses, wallets, tote bags, belts and eyeglass frames constitute “useful articles”.

The protection afforded by the IDPA is based not on the previous standard of “substantially similar” but instead, that of “substantially identical”: “So similar in appearance as to be likely to be mistaken for the design, and contain only those differences in construction or design which are merely trivial.” This narrowing of standards takes into account the often inherently derivative quality of fashion design. Also, to be more applicable to the fast-paced, ephemeral nature of the fashion industry, copyright protection for original articles is valid for a three-year term, but is not applied to articles made public more than three years before the date of asserting protection.

Other provisions include barring the consideration of “the presence or absence of a particular color, or pictorial or graphic work imprinted on fabric” in determining copyright protection. The act “modifies infringement criteria for retailers, sellers, importers, or distributors of an infringing article who did not make the article”, and also holds that “it is not infringement to make, have made, import, sell, offer for sale, or distribute any article embodying a design which was created without knowledge, either actual or reasonably inferred from the totality of the circumstances, that a design was protected and was copied from such protected design”. Furthermore, a fashion design is not deemed to be copied if it is not “substantially identical” to a protected design, or if it is “the result of independent creation”.

When owners of a fashion design want to sue for copyright infringement, the IDPA specifies that the owner must provide written notice of the design protection to the supposed infringer. The owner may pursue an action for infringement after the design is made public and after 21 days following the provision of the aforementioned written notice.

For fashion designers, the IDPA might prove to be a significant amendment to the way the legal system treats creative work that fuels the fashion business. Enforceable intellectual property rights in the form of copyrights of fashion designs could conceivably protect the value of artistic fashion articles, and increase the supply and demand of more original designs from the retail to the haute couture level.

If you have an extravagant, extraordinary or exclusive product or service in need of legal protection, contact Luxury Law Firm.



AMD IDPA Summary

Apple May Gain High Fashion Ground with Former Saint Laurent CEO

Paul_DeneveBy Caroline Lau, Staff Writer, AMD LAW

Apple announced last Tuesday that Paul Deneve, who stepped down as CEO of luxury fashion house Saint Laurent to take up his new position, is joining Apple as vice president of “special projects”, the specifics of which are still under wraps. The company stated that Deneve would report directly to its CEO, Tim Cook. In the 1990s, Deneve worked at Apple Europe in sales and marketing, while his distinguished fashion credentials include high level positions at fashion houses Nina Ricci and Lanvin.

This recent move by Apple, following so soon after news of its international efforts to register trademarks for the “iWatch” in numerous countries, has industry watchers speculating that perhaps Deneve will be involved in the design and marketing of the tech company’s rumored impending ‘smart watch’. Putting two and two together, having Deneve on board might signal a push in the direction of ‘wearable technology’ that consumers would actually want to wear, if a high-end pedigree is attached to the high-tech product. This would definitely be in line with Apple’s reputation for their sleek, minimalist style and user-friendly design.

Deneve’s brand of business sense may also help him fit right in with the heads behind Apple, which saw a major turnaround in the 2000s and has since been firmly established as a top player in the tech industry worldwide, especially after the introduction of the iconic iPhone. Last year, the longstanding Yves Saint Laurent name was changed to simply Saint Laurent for YSL’s high fashion line (although the beauty line still retains the ‘Yves’ in its label). The alteration was made under the direction of designer and photographer, Hedi Slimane, as the new creative director, along with a new logo. Deneve was responsible for Slimane’s hiring, and so was instrumental in injecting the brand’s image with a more youthful style. If Deneve will really be part of a smart watch project at Apple, his experience in the fashion business would lend an edge to marketing electronic devices with ready-to-wear appeal.

Crossing technology with fashion historically has not yielded any game-changing results for either industry, but perhaps with the advent of the smart watch or wearable technology in general, creative minds and innovators will find a way to break new ground. In any case, technological advancements and novel designs means even greater significance will be put on intellectual property protection and practices.

If you have an extravagant, extraordinary or exclusive product or service in need of legal protection, contact Luxury Law Firm.


Time. July 3, 2013. Apple Taps Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve As a VP. Retrieved on July 9, 2013 from

CMS Wire. July 3, 2013. Apple Hires Fashion Guru; World Awaits Next Move. Retrieved on July 9, 2013 from

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Trademark dispute between and Pharrell

Pharrell.Will.i.amAlthough has denied that he is filing a lawsuit against Pharrell, the dispute between the two music heavyweights over the use of the phrase “I am” is ongoing. According to a lawyer for, Pharrell’s proposed trademark for the phrase “I am OTHER” to be used as a logo for a clothing brand is too similar to his registered trademark “I am”. The argument is that registering Pharrell’s proposed trademark would dilute the trademark already has.

A statement obtained from Pharrell on the matter reveals that the singer-songwriter finds the rapper’s allegations “meritless and ridiculous”, and it is possible that may be unsuccessful in defending his case. Apparently, there are 1,785 active trademarks that include the phrase “I am” in the US Patent and Trademark Office online database. also has not released a new clothing line under his i am clothing label since fall 2011, but while “I am” trademark may not be in current commercial use for his clothing line in accordance with US trademark law for viability, one of’s lawyers, Ken Hertz, affirms that the rapper is not suing Pharrell and states that he uses his trademarked “I am” phrase in a number of commercial and philanthropic endeavors.

A lawyer for Pharrell, Brad Rose, sent out a statement supporting Pharrell’s earlier statement declaring that the singer had tried on many occasion to “talk things out” with over the issue on more amicable terms than the present legal actions is taking seem to demonstrate. Rose maintains that does not have the sole rights to the phrase “I am” in commerce as evinced by the many other trademarks that contain those two words.

It will be interesting to see how this case plays out between the musicians, both of whom have significant playtime on popular radio these days and are major music producers themselves, especially because the intellectual property dispute is not about creative music work but arises from the expansion of both artists’ businesses into other industries of clothing and fashion.

If you have an extravagant, extraordinary or exclusive product or service in need of legal protection, contact Luxury Law Firm.



The Wall Street Journal. (June 28, 2013). Musicians, Pharrell Williams Hit Sour Notes in Trademark Dispute. Retrieved on June 28, 2013 from

Time. (June 27, 2013). Threatens to Sue Pharrell Over Use of Phrase “I Am”. Retrieved on June 28, 2013 from

Photo: Getty Images