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Patents For Entrepreneurs in Fashion: Challenges in Protecting Fashion Designs

As we continue to explore patents for entrepreneurs, one area you don't hear enough about is IP protection in the fashion industry. Those who create fashion designs for a living realize how competitive this industry is, including having to compete with every fashion behemoth around the world. You're perhaps one starting to build a solid reputation in this industry, and you consider yourself a true fashion entrepreneur.

Despite the competitive aspect, you need to keep your ideas protected since the chances of someone doing something similar continues to grow. As much as we all want to think an original idea can stand alone in the universe, we're almost always crushed to find out more than one person is doing something identical.

As noted this last year, the fashion industry recently became more interested in patents after occasionally becoming lax on the subject. Many brands now stock up on design patents to fight back against industry copying.

 
 
 
 

How Far Back Do Fashion Design Patents Go?

These go back many decades, though the bigger names in the fashion industry take them more seriously than ever. They do this for good reason when applying protection to new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.

Another push for fashion design patents comes from how weak copyrights and trademarks are in providing full fashion protection. Even though the "Fashion Bill" of 2012 gave extended copyright protection to those who create original clothing ideas, it still doesn't protect useful articles like garments and accessories.

Only a design patent provides complete protection to call a design all your own. If you've put off filing patents due to lack of time, look to some of your big fashion heroes in this business.

Many of the most influential fashion designers in the world now patent their designs to avoid having to spend time in a courtroom rather than creating.

 
 

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The Big Names Taking on Fashion Design Patents

Brand names like Yves Saint Laurent filed eight fashion design patents last year. They applied these to new handbag designs, as well as for a special brand of heels they designed.

Also, Louis Vuitton filed four new patent designs last summer for their unique handbags. Other names joining these include BottegaVeneta and Balenciaga. With these names, their attention to patents benefits them exponentially since many of their creations become brand staples.

It's here where a fashion design patent can become beneficial to not only the big names, but also smaller ones like yours. Protection length is quite significant, despite making a huge difference in when you file.

Why You Shouldn't Wait to File Your Design Patent

If you have any experience with design patents, then you know they last up to 14-15 years, starting from the date when your file. This works no differently with a fashion design patent, giving you a chance to profit exponentially without worry of anyone legally copying you.

The challenge comes in the cost. Keep in mind copyrights usually cost under $500 to file, though patents cost considerably more. After you include the cost of the patent and all the legal fees you'll pay, you're looking at around $10,000 at maximum.

Paying this is easier for the big fashion brands, but it could be worth your own investment. What's sometimes frustrating is that patent issuance can take a while. You may not even be able to get your fashion design patent for up to a year and a half.

During this time frame, your fashion designs could become outdated. With this in mind, it's better to patent a fashion design you know can stay evergreen in order to make the most profit.