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Goodlatte reintroduces legislation to combat design piracy
Jul '11
Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) reintroduced the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act. This bipartisan legislation provides copyright protections to fashion designs.

Most industrialized nations provide legal protection for fashion designs. However, in the United States, the world's leader in innovation and creativity fashion, designs are not protected by traditional intellectual property laws. Copyrights are not granted to apparel because articles of clothing, which are both creative and functional, are considered useful articles, as opposed to works of art. Design patents are intended to protect ornamental designs, but clothing rarely meets the criteria of patentability. Trademarks only protect brand names and logos, not the clothing itself.

“As America's fashion design industry continues to grow, America's designers deserve and need the type of legal protections that are already available in other countries; said Congressman Goodlatte. I am pleased to introduce the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, which establishes these protections here in the U.S.”

The Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act protects designers by amending the Copyright Act to also include protections for fashion designs. Because the production life cycle for fashion designs is very short, this legislation similarly provides a tailored period of protection that suits the industry ? three years. This legislation further establishes damages for infringing a fashion design at the greater of $50,000 or $1 per copy.

According to United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), counterfeiting merchandise, as a whole, is responsible for the loss of 750,000 American jobs and American companies lose between $200 and $250 billion in sales because of these counterfeit goods. Of the total worth of counterfeited domestic items commodities seized by the CBP in 2005, fashion items accounted for 38 percent.

Fashion design is a $340 billion American industry. It is the only growth area in apparel manufacturing, said Goodlatte. In addition to the jobs directly related to the manufacturing of apparel, it creates jobs in many sectors: printing, trucking, distribution, advertising, publicity, merchandising, and retail. By protecting a designer?s original work we are also protecting the many jobs that support that design.

The Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, on which Congressman Goodlatte serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and Internet. Additionally, Congressman Goodlatte is co-chairman of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus.

United States House of Representatives

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