First to speak after the coffee break was Nicola Searle, the Katonomist. Nicola sought to describe and explain the points at which the fashion sector is the same, or quite different, from other sectors. Since we don't discriminate between created works, some creative fashions are under-rewarded by an IP monopoly while others are over-rewarded. IP can also hinder the balance between the reward given to the initial innovator of a new design product and subsequent innovators.
Counterfeit goods send out ambiguous messages; they can both damage demand and increase it, and they do address the status needs of lower-income consumers. Within each reference group, there is a zero-sum game in terms of status, since each person's increase in status corresponds to someone else's diminution of status. Three types of consumer are identified by the economists: the snobs, the aspirants and the bandwagon. The snobs get to a fashion product first, followed by the wannabes. By the time everyone is getting on to the bandwagon, the snobs are already jumping off it.
|A Wendy Brandes Swear-Ring: the idea|
is simple, but protection is hard and costly
Leading up to lunch, Aaron Wood (Briffa) reviewed the confusing condition of design protection for fashion in the UK, via national and Community design law. He dealt with issues such as qualification of the protected party (do you have to be a UK or EU national in order to enjoy design right protection?), exclusions from protection (does it matter if your design is for a surface pattern rather than something more substantial?) and priority (can you still register a design if you have already sold goods which incorporate it?)
|Tatty Devine: made good|
use of social media in getting
the right result ...
When deciding what to do about an infringer, decide your strategy: are you looking to frighten off small fry, to obtain publicity or to seek full relief? Also, consider how an alleged infringer might respond to your moves. Defendants whose one product is an infringement of yours are more likely to stand and fight.