Intellectual Property rules to help you own your creativity

No one wants to have their work stolen or copied, not after the time and energy they’ve put in. Are you an avid author, a destined designer or an aspiring artist? Well, stop right there! There are ways you can ensure your creative ideas do not end up in the wrong hands.

Intellectual property (long but useful term) refers to the creations produced by someone for which control is assigned to the designated owner by law. For example, a trademark might be granted to a fashion designer, protecting their designs from plagiarism. I’d never heard of all this talk until my research, so here it goes…

  1. As a designer, your legal rights protect you from copyright, trademarks, and exploitation through third parties. Useful right? I mean, Vogue wouldn’t put up with copyright so, why should you? Copyright protects the expression of creativity of the author but only once the idea is designed on paper, as an idea in your head is harder to prove and cannot be protected. So quickly get that idea out of your head and onto paper as soon as possible.

Take Puma for example; the multinational footwear company, recently took Forever 21 to court. Puma claimed Forever 21 illegally replicated the shoe designs that Creative Director and Brand Ambassador Rihanna had designed for Puma. As Puma own the design trademark for those shoes, amongst the singer’s designs of the Creeper, the Bow Slide, and the Fur Slide, their lawsuit stated that Forever 21 did not have permission to copyright the design.

So if you are fashion, graphic, stage or costume designer you want to ensure you keep your designing rights. Your designs can be protected by an EU Unregistered Community Design, which takes effect from the date your design is made available to the public. Imagine spending months and months crafting together a masterpiece design that finally gets you noticed by the fashion gods and Chanel waltz in with an exact replica receiving all the credit and a huge profit. You, well, you are left with no recognition. Don’t let this transpire, get your rights sorted out!

*Disclaimer – This guide is not to be relied upon as legal advice.

Written by Emily Bone

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Read more in our Meen – May 2017 issue below