Dissertation Summaries (7) – LLM in IP and Competition Law 2009-2010
Intellectual Property Protection in the Fashion Industry: Too Pretty to Protect? – Julie De Bruyn
The purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the protection granted to fashion designs. By first discussing EU law and secondly by comparing the later regulatory framework with the (lack of) protection in the USA, this dissertation seeks to assess whether (or not) fashion designers nowadays are getting the protection they need. This assessment will not only be based on a static analysis of the regulatory framework. It will also draw on concrete empirical information obtained through “field interviews” with designers and professionals of the fashion industry. Should there be a different regulation for “functional clothing” (dry fit, gore tex, etc.) vis à vis “purely esthetical clothing” (e.g. “haute couture”)? And is it true that, as argued by some economists, imitation is actually the biggest incentive for the fashion industry to keep on innovating? These are some of the questions that will be dealt with in this dissertation, with the ultimate goal of reaching a conclusion on the optimal standard of protection (the standard that will satisfy both industry interests and the consumer).