As a teenager, Pharrell Williams began his own record studios called Neptune with his friend and worked with many famous artists such as Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani, and Britney Spears. He also helped produce Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. In 2014, Mr. Williams became a voice coach on the popular television show The Voice. Throughout his career as a singer, producer, and songwriter, Pharrell Williams won many Grammy awards—but his talent doesn’t end there.
The number of design infringement cases have been increasing, as the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, a court equivalent to the High Court regarding intellectual property matters, based in London, is hearing cases faster and at a far less cost.
Designer for Atelier de Geste, Beau Rhee was surprised to find one of the models in John Galliano’s debut show at London Fashion Week wearing a two-toned legging design that she featured in her own collection. Rhee watched the fashion show on Monday to see the Maison Margiela fashion show and was excited for the new haute couture fashion designs. Unsure whether the similar designs were simply coincidence or mere imitation, Rhee posted the pictures on Twitter and Instagram to receive her followers’ opinions.
London Fashion Week has been the event that has introduced many new trends and creative fashion designs. The fashion industry has struggled with the issue of intellectual property as other countries, particularly China, threaten the fashion companies through counterfeit products. Fashion designer Henry Holland, warns others participating in the Fashion Week, about the dangers of intellectual property theft. Henry Holland, who owns House of Holland, thought that the start of the event was the perfect time to raise awareness of this issue. Since Mr. Holland owns a small company, the dangers of stolen designs from larger companies harm his business. His fear is that once his designs are shown in London Fashion Week, counterfeiters can easily manufacture and distribute his ideas before him.
Lush is a beauty brand that produces products from fresh organic fruit and vegetables. Their products such as makeup, soap, and face wash are not animal tested and are made fresh by hand with little or no preservative. Lush brand chose not to sell their products on Amazon but when customers searched “lush” into the search bar, similar beauty products sold by Lush appeared in the results.
Why should a company protect its brand name? There is a multitude of reasons to register one’s trademark in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. One of the reasons is to stop others from copying your product and selling it as their own. To raise awareness of the harms the counterfeit market inflicts onto the fashion industry, New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology opened a new exhibit “Faking It”.
The fashion brand, Bottega Veneta, well-known for its hand bangs and fragrances, had filed its unique “knot” design for trademark registration. Initially, the design was rejected by the USPTO because the knot was a non-distinctive product design and needed a secondary meaning. Bottega Veneta attempted to prove that its knot was distinctive through submitting its sales record, media coverage, high remarks from other fashion industry experts, and a comparison with other famous luxury brand marks.
Tadashi Yani, who became the second richest man in Japan, founded the relatively new Japanese brand Uniqlo. There are more than 1,500 stores around the world; New York’s Fifth Avenue Uniqlo store encounters 6,000 customers daily and each customer buys an average of four items. How did Uniqlo’s fashion label rise to the top in such a short period of time? Many fashion companies focus on the high fashion runway trends and translate them into affordable versions, but Uniqlo takes it back to the basics. Uniqlo’s clothes are simple and practical. Although the company only has few styles to choose from, each style of clothing comes in over a hundred colors. Because Uniqlo’s products are not elaborate, buying fabric is cheaper—which allows the company to provide cheaper prices for its consumers. Uniqlo also has a team of textile masters who develop new high-tech fabrics for the brand. For example, Uniqlo developed a line of underwear using heat-regulating fabric with Toray industries, a Japanese chemical company.
Tommy Bowe, an Ulster and Irish Lions rugby player, started a new gents brand clothing business called XV Kings Tommy Bowe Designs. He first involved himself in the fashion industry through collaboration with Lloyd & Pryce, a shoe brand.
An Italian eyewear luxury brand, Luxottica, announced their future partnership with Intel to create fashionable smart eyewear. Luxottica own many well known brands such like Ray-Ban, Oakley and Persol; the company also collaborates with Chanel, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Miu Miu, Tory Burch, and Stella McCartney. Intel and Luxottica plan to develop smart technology for eyewear designed and perceived to be worn in the future.
Following-up on the court’s decision that New York’s Fashion Week venue be moved, the show is confirmed to be moving somewhere downtown for September. There is speculation that the show will be located in multiple venues to give designers flexibility. Once the Culture Shed opens in 2017, the search for a new venue might be over. The venue located in Hudson Yard on West 30th Street will have four runways, several studios, and an exhibition space. New York Fashion Week’s contract with Lincoln Center that allowed the show to use its venue until 2020 now is rendered moot.
Whether a company is small or large, licensing can be beneficial in a multitude of ways. Not only can licensing bring about an increase of revenue, but also can expand a company’s outreach and establish a permanent, recognizable brand. Establishing a brand name is a valuable marketing strategy that distinguishes a company from the rest of its competitors.
Intellectual property is a vital necessity for the success of any product or company. Whether protection in trademark, patent, copyright, or trade secret, individuals or corporations need to ensure that their branding and unique designs will not be diluted by counterfeiters or copycats. The fashion industry especially has struggled with the issue of intellectual property as the Court views clothing as more for functional purposes than a distinguished product. Changes in the U.S. patent law provide great opportunity for fashion designers to protect their designs not only in the United States, but also all over the world.
The rumors about Alexander Wang’s collaboration with H&M have been proven to be true. Wang’s designer collaboration with H&M has been available in stores since November 6th. Wang is the tenth high fashion designer who H&M had collaborated with.