Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Cost of Protections in the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry continues to explode on a global basis. With markets opening up in every corner, those who design and produce the fashions that mark the very trends of history, are facing serious concern regarding theft of these designs. When designers were constricted to producing fashions in a single country, it was easy to abide by and enforce Intellectual property trademark fashion laws. Now that the world has opened its arms to international trade the idea of infringement has become a much more serious discussion, one that has moved to the forefront of industry professionals minds.

Small and medium sized enterprises (SME) are most affected by the discussion because the protection of intellectual property trademark fashion can become a very costly side of the business. Having to weigh the cost versus risk of having ones ideas and designs stolen and mass produced becomes a very easy decision once it happens. The first time a design is stolen and mass produced on the cheap, anyone would be on board with the idea of tougher and easier to implement protections regardless of the costs. While costs may be high, the protections are extremely important for the industry to survive.

Intellectual property trademark fashion protections come in the form of copyright, trademark, and trade secret patents and filings. The costs are, at times, considered prohibitive and may be designed for the larger industry players, thus making it more difficult for the smaller and medium sized textile and clothing enterprises to compete. Margins may have to be higher simply because volume just isn't there to cover the expense. Unfortunately, this may price out the smaller houses from competition in certain markets. Trends to move manufacturing overseas (regardless of the country of origin) is often a result of such cost structures.

When it comes down to it, intellectual property trademark fashion protections are absolutely needed regardless of the cost. Preventing theft in the fashion world will allow the creative process to flow unimpeded. It is important, though, to remember that the high costs of filing for these protections can be prohibitive. For the small and medium industry players, these costs can stifle creativity as much as theft.

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