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US Senator initiates legislation to save fashion industry
Sep '12
United States Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he has re-introduced legislation that would protect the New York and United States fashion industry from copy-cat knock-offs. The legislation provides a very limited intellectual property protection to the most original fashion designs – those that are extremely unique and distinguishable – and does so in a way that limits any collateral costs.

The legislation, originally introduced by Schumer last year, failed to receive a vote on the Senate floor after passing out of the Judiciary Committee. Today, Schumer announced he was re-introducing this legislation which has been written in close collaboration with key stakeholders such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and the American Apparel & Footwear Association and NetCoalition.

“New York City is the fashion capital of the country, playing an enormous role in New York’s greater economy by employing nearly 200,000 people and generating billions of dollars in total wages,” said Schumer.

“But copycat knock offs are hurting America’s fashion industry, and overseas fashion designers are reaping the benefits because of their greater protections. My new-and-improved fashion bill has the support of America’s key fashion stakeholders and will provide intellectual property protections to original fashion designers right here in New York.”

“The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) is committed to assuring that American designers enjoy the same intellectual property protection for fashion design that nearly all other industrialized countries have, and we strongly support the Innovative Design Protection Act,” said the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Executive Director Steve Kolb. “We have worked closely with the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) to make sure it’s a bill they can support, and we have worked with other stakeholders, as well, to ensure this legislation is inclusive and supports all segments of our industry.”

“The Innovative Design Protection Act is a workable and practical approach to the real but limited issue of design piracy. I applaud Senator Schumer for his proactive effort in bringing all stakeholders together in search of a solution that protects genuine creativity in fashion design but still allows for the industry to explore the trends hardworking American families on a budget desire,” said American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.

The fashion industry plays a vital role in the New York economy.  The fashion industry employs nearly 200,000 people in New York City alone, generates nearly $10 billion in total wages, and generates tax revenues of $811 million.  Over 800 fashion companies are headquartered in New York City, more than double the number in Paris, yet French designers have greater copyright protections.  Twice a year, Fashion Week in New York generates $466 million in direct visitor spending, leading to $782 million in total economic impact per year.

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