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In the year 2015 alone, the United States fashion industry generated over $343 billion in revenue. Fashion is not just a business—it is also a respected art form in the United States. Despite the economic and artistic significance of fashion, the tailoring and structural aspects of a fashion article are generally not protectable under U.S. copyright law. However, certain patterns exhibited on a fashion article such as an original pattern on a skirt or a screen print of an artist’s painting on a t-shirt may be copyrightable. In contrast, Europe has several legal mechanisms for protecting fashion designs and articles under the laws of the European Union and other nations. This article compares the intellectual property fashion design protections in the United States, including the recent congressional attempt to protect fashion designs under copyright law and the upcoming Supreme Court’s decision involving protection of fashion designs, with the fashion intellectual property protections offered in the European Union, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on December 1, 2016. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.

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