Erosion of IP rights: Impact on fashion and textile sector

By Ameet Datta and Suvarna Mandal, Saikrishna & Associates
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India’s fashion industry complements its textile industry, which contributes significantly to exports and GDP. Trends in terms of colours, styles, fabrics, etc., determine the fashion industry’s fortunes, which rest on the creative endeavours of legions of designers and traditional craftsmen.

These trends are normally seasonal and designs are rapidly replaced in each successive season, so the industry is always under pressure to be more creative than before. Unfortunately the legal system has not kept up with the needs of the fashion and textile industry.

Statutory provisions

The fashion world is often a victim of blatant imitations and knock-offs of designs. Two statutes impact the fates of the fashion industry: the Copyright Act, 1957, and the Designs Act, 2000. While registration is not mandatory under the Copyright Act, designs must be registered for a designer to establish a monopoly right over their creation.

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Ameet Datta is a partner at Saikrishna & Associates, where Suvarna Mandal is an associate. The views expressed in this article are personal.

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