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BW Businessworld

Legal Awareness Necessary in Fashion Industry, Says Experts

Experts highlighted the importance of legal awareness among fashion industry professionals to fight against plagiarism

Photo Credit : Reuters


On account of the recent instances that depicts a rise in the number of fashion designers filing complaints against infringement of copyright, experts suggest that there is a need to have legal awareness among industry professionals in order to curtail plagiarism.

While speaking to BW Businessworld, copyright expert, Safir Anand said that to improve the scenario, it is imperative that the design community engages in understanding the scope of rights, scope of protection, advantages of protection and the advantages of enforcement.

“The problem is common on account of lack of awareness amongst the creative community, no protection sought by the creative community and tolerance of the creative community under the impression that imitation is flattery,” he added.

He further said that it is important that designers understand the difference between the different kinds of Intellectual Property, preferably through Intellectual Property Counsel or Advisor or through a training and enforce rights in accordance with the nature of plagiarism.

Adheesh Nargolkar, Partner in the Intellectual Property (IP) team of Khaitan and Co., explained that the lack of awareness of IP laws in the fashion industry makes the problem of copying more common. Also, the overlap and ambiguity between the Indian design and copyright law add to the confusion.

He said, “The processes or provisions in the law are appropriate but it is the practicality which is lacking in India.”

When asked about the nuances in the fashion industry to Ankur Bisen of Technopak, he affirmed that there should be legal awareness among the creative community, but what people are fighting is blatant plagiarism.

“Blatant plagiarism is like a photocopy where the product gets launched around the same time when the owner of that particular work or design introduces it into the market. There should be a legal response to put deterrence in place for blatant replication,” he added.

Anand said that the problem also gets some degree of concern from an overlap between the Designs Act and the Copyright Act as, if something is not protected as a design and is reproduced more than 50 times by an industrial process, then design protection may be the only recourse. If the overlap between Design Law and Copyright Law is undone, a greater degree of comfort will apply to many designers in enforcing rights.

Tags assigned to this article:
fashion industry Safir Anand intellectual property