Originally posted 2015-01-13 11:00:42.
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”.
Counterfeit items represent about 7 percent of the global trade and bring in 600 billion dollars per year. Most of the fashion industry’s counterfeits are handbags with the labels of Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Prada, Chanel, etc. A majority of the customers don’t realize that the proceeds received from buying counterfeit products are linked to criminal syndicates like child labor. Furthermore, one in six online shoppers are often unaware they are purchasing a counterfeit item. Nowadays it is harder to distinguish between a duplicate brand and the authentic brand. Items from sweatshops that are almost indistinguishable from a legitimate brand name are called “super fakes”, which are becoming more common.
Counterfeit products also hinder new talent and the creativity of designers who have their product designs stolen consistently. Even though it is legal, retailers like Forever 21 and H&M copycat the designs of brand name designers all the time. It is difficult to determine what acts are illegal or legal given that there are no copyright laws protecting the fashion designers and their companies. Although there were numerous bills introduced regarding intellectual property protection, Congress did not, and does not see the need for protection in a frivolous industry. Hopefully through awareness, consumers will influence the court’s decision about intellectual property rights for the fashion industry and lessen the negative affects of counterfeit products.
Key words: trademark, counterfeit, fashion, intellectual, property, luxury, copycats, and law