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Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act

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Manish Jindal

December 4, 2023

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Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act

Imagine you’ve spent countless hours crafting a unique design, only to find it replicated and sold by someone else without your permission. Frustrating, right?

Well, the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act is here to protect designers like you. But what exactly is it, and how does it work? Let’s dive in!

IDPPPA: A Step Forward in Fashion Design Protection

On August 5, 2010, Senator Charles Schumer, along with ten co-sponsors, introduced the bill S.3728.

By December 1, 2010, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary gave a unanimous nod for the bill to advance to the Senate floor, marking the most progress any design-related bill has seen since 2006.

The IDPPPA stipulates that a design would be considered infringed upon if it closely mirrors the original, with minimal alterations distinguishing the two.

The act proposed steeper penalties for misrepresentation, raising the fines from $500 to $5,000 and from $1,000 to $10,000.

The protection umbrella of the act would cover a range of “apparel” items, encompassing clothing for all genders and ages, as well as accessories like luggage, handbags, wallets, and eyeglass frames.

The term “fashion design” in the context of the IDPPPA refers to a complete clothing item, inclusive of its adornments, and also the unique elements that showcase the creativity of the original designer.

Proponents of the act believe it would bolster protections for fashion designers.

However, critics contend that it would invite more legal scrutiny into the design process, stifle creativity, hinder the free use of public domain works, and decelerate the swift nature of fashion design.

Some designers have voiced their support for the IDPPPA, seeing it as a safeguard for their existing and upcoming designs.

Kurt Courtney from the AAFA lauded the bill as a well-thought-out compromise resulting from diligent efforts, but also noted that its real impact would be evident in court decisions related to the act.

IDPPPA: Protecting Fashion Designs or Increasing Consumer Costs?

It aims to offer a three-year protection span for unique elements or arrangements in fashion layouts, which are a product of a designer’s individual creativity and stand out from previous layouts in a significant, non-trivial manner.

This proposal has garnered support from notable figures in the fashion realm, including endorsements from the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) and the Council for Fashion Designers America (CFDA).

However, it’s not without its critics. A major concern is that the IDPPPA could escalate production expenses in the fashion sector, leading to consumers facing steeper prices.

Understanding the IDPPPA: Protection Scope and Criteria for Fashion Designs

The IDPPPA offers protection to a wide range of items, including clothing (like undergarments, outerwear, gloves, shoes, and hats), as well as accessories like handbags, purses, wallets, tote bags, belts, and eyeglass frames.

These items are safeguarded for a period of three years, and designers don’t need to register them.

Once a layout under this protection is introduced to the public, designers can take legal action for any subsequent infringements.

However, it’s up to the designer to prove that their design is protected and that it was presented in such a way that the defendant could reasonably be assumed to have seen or known about it.

The IDPPPA clarifies that a design can’t be considered copied from a protected one unless it looks almost identical to the original and any differences are minor.

A design is deemed “substantially identical” if it looks so similar that people might confuse it with the protected design, with only negligible differences in its structure or design.

The act also states that the use of specific colors or graphics on an item shouldn’t influence the decision on whether a design is protected or not.

IDPPPA: Defining the Boundaries of Design Infringement

Infringement occurs when a protected article is copied without the owner’s permission. The onus is on the designer to demonstrate that their design has been unlawfully duplicated.

According to the IDPPPA, if an article is created without any knowledge, either direct or reasonably deduced from the situation, that a design was safeguarded, it isn’t considered an infringement.

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Additionally, showcasing protected designs in mediums like books, magazines, movies, or photos doesn’t qualify as infringement. Making a one-off copy for personal use is also exempted.

Lastly, the bill acknowledges the principles of secondary infringement or liability.

Significant Difference between IDPA and IDPPPA

The IDPA and the IDPPPA, while related, have some distinct differences:

  1. Under the IDPA, one must provide a written notice 21 days before initiating any legal action.
  2. Any damages claimed under the IDPA can only be for those incurred after the legal action for infringement begins.
  3. Internet service providers and search tools are exempt from any liability under the IDPA.

Conclusion

In the realm of intellectual property legislation, the IDPPPA stands as a significant step for fashion design, aiming to address the inconsistency of copyright application in the industry.

This act seeks to bolster protection for designers, especially independent fashion designers, by safeguarding the originality in fashion design.

It delves deep into the intricacies, from the ornamental design of a piece of clothing to the arrangements of fashion designs.

While the act promotes innovative designs, it also recognises the challenges of the rapid design process, where design piracy poses significant threats.

The act encompasses a wide range of apparel articles, from clothing to accessories like handbags and eyeglass frames, ensuring that these items, whether they are purely aesthetic or have utilitarian elements, are safeguarded.

For independent designers eyeing future fashion designs, this act promises a shield against infringements, ensuring their artistic design elements remain unique.

In short, the IDPPPA is a monumental stride towards comprehensive intellectual property protection in the fashion sector.

FAQs

What is the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (IDPPPA)?

The IDPPPA is a legislative proposal introduced in August 2010 by Senator Charles Schumer. It aims to grant sui generis protection to fashion designs under the Copyright Clause of the Constitution.

If passed, it would amend § 1301 of the Copyright Act, which currently offers sui generis protection to designs of boat vessel hulls.

Why is the IDPPPA important for U.S. fashion designers?

The IDPPPA is significant because it would provide legal protection to original fashion designs in the U.S.

European designers have long enjoyed copyright protection for their works, allowing them to create without fear of others profiting from their creativity.

However, American designers have not been given such assurance, putting them at a disadvantage in the global fashion industry.

How does the IDPPPA compare to European fashion design protection laws?

European designers have long enjoyed copyright protection for their fashion designs. The European Union has specific regulations and directives that protect fashion designs.

The IDPPPA draws inspiration from these European provisions, and if enacted, U.S. courts could potentially follow the European Union’s interpretation for consistency in intellectual property rights protection.

How could the IDPPPA impact the U.S. fashion industry?

The enactment of the IDPPPA could be a significant step forward for U.S. intellectual property law and the fashion industry.

It would encourage innovation by providing designers with legal protection for their original designs.

This could lead to increased creativity, a boost in the U.S. fashion industry’s global competitiveness, and potential benefits for designers, retailers, consumers, and litigation.

Why IDPPPA is designed?

The IDPPPA is designed to encourage creativity, which is the goal of copyright law. It fosters the birth of the freshest designs and boosts the fashion industry’s economic health.

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