I recently attended a workshop with Rachel Fischbein, Esq. , titled "Fashion Law Primer: Protecting Your Designs."
The evening program covered the legal aspects of protecting creative designs in jewelry, fashion accessories, or branding with copyright, trademarks and patents.
The evening went very quickly. Rachel had to push at a reasonably fast pace for the hour and a half just to cover all the legal options. We had time for a few questions, but I would have loved more discussion, even hours more discussion. I was anticipating so many possible situations to apply her suggestions in the craft community.
Design patents, utility patents, trademarks, trade dress, and copyright are the legal options to protect design work. Publication and registration timing are significant considerations in protection of your art, designs, brand, or even protecting workshop content.
Are you considering a Licensing Agreement? Work for Hire?
Surely, there is no doubt that hiring a lawyer like Rachel Fischbein to protect your intellectual property would be worthwhile. What I loved about listening to Rachel was that she wanted to work with the jewelry and fashion industry. She is on our side.
The irony was at the time she made it sound so easy and straightforward, yet now I look at my extensive notes and I am discouraged and rather overwhelmed. I took the workshop to become more informed, but it isn't a substitute for a legal career. It seems inappropriate to become a "workshop imposter" to share her workshop in a post. I think Rachel's voice of experience would be fabulous content for professional development at the next conference sponsored by your local/national organization
When I look at the plethora of the copycat incidents, there is a big problem with all the legal protections Rachel mentioned. Most of us aren't taking these legal steps, nor do we have the resources to take a copycat to court. So how do we protect our ideas, designs, brand identity or even a workshop title or content with our own initiative?
How are we realistically going to stop the copycats that may not know that it is unethical and illegal to copy designs and ideas. Or how about the ugly reality, that some of the copycats just blatantly do not care.
So here is some breaking news! Rachel has written a 3 part series for ASK Harriete starting next week.
Post #1 What Is A Copy? Copycat?
Rachel Fischbein says, this blog post addresses the variations of an all too common story, a designer is gaining traction on her designs, getting known for a particular style, feeling some success from her efforts, when suddenly a friend emails. "Take a look at these designs," the friend says. "They're just like yours." As the designer, you're understandably feeling harmed, disrespected and worried. Before you fire off an angry email to the copycat, read through this blog to plan your strategy.
Post #2 Initial Copycat Communication
What should your initial letter to the copycat say? Rachel Firshbein will guide us through the "Cease and Desist" letter strategies.
Below are blog posts, worksheets, and workshops offered by Rachel Fischbein.
Trending Legal Issues in 3D Printing in the Creative Arts (especially the fashion industry)
This workshop was given in May 2015 but I hope that California Lawyers for the Arts hosts it again."As 3-D printers are becoming more accessible and affordable to the public, the increasing use and availability of 3-D printers will drastically affect intellectual property protection -- especially in the fashion industry."
Worksheet for agreements with Independent Contractor Designers (discontinued)
"A worksheet of topics and questions to discuss when working with designers who you are independently contracting."
"This worksheet is to help business owners of a fashion or beauty company as they begin selling products online. By working through the worksheet, you'll make business decisions needed for your terms & conditions of your website."
Consultation Hour- Worksheet Assistance (discontinued)
"Did you recently download one of the Law On The Runway worksheets? Do you need assistance with filling it out or implementing the information into your business? This is a special discounted rate for consultation on the worksheets provided in the Law On The Runway store. After completing your purchase, please reach out to Rachel@lawontherunway.com, to set up a time for your consultation."
This post was updated on December 11th, 2021.