It’s a busy month for fashion & law at the New York City Bar Association:
On November 1, the New York City Bar Association held a panel on “The Business of Beauty”. In-house counsel at leading companies in the beauty business discussed their jobs, shared tips, and reviewed their career paths. The event was sponsored by the City Bar’s Fashion Law Committee. Panelists included, Erica J. Swartz, Trademark Counsel, Revlon; Bret Parker, Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Elizabeth Arden, Inc.; Monica Richman, Chair, Fashion Law Committee; Charles Colman (a good friend of mine and great lawyer!) of Charles Colman Law, PLLC; Anca Cornis-Pop, Global Marketing Counsel, Avon Products, Inc.; and Erica Breitman, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Coty Inc. Fashionista covered the event, and gives some takeaways for those interested in entering the beauty industry either from a purely “beauty” perspective or from the lawyering end.
Also, check out the City Bar’s upcoming event on November 14: “Careers in Fashion Law”, where experts in the field will share their expertise and discuss job opportunities for students as well as their own career progressions.
Legislative Hearing on the Innovative Design Protection & Piracy Prevention Act - Hearing Memorandum and Testimony
On July 15 there was a legislative hearing on the Innovative Design Protection & Piracy Prevention Act. The issues that were presented were as follows:
To what extent is design protection necessary for the fashion industry?
How has fashion piracy damaged the fashion industry? Can this be quantified in lost sales and jobs?
How effective is statutory design protection in the EU and other countries?
Could S. 3728 or another bill create an incentive for fashion houses to protect as many designs as they can; in effect, becoming fashion “trolls”?
Does the bill favor large design houses over small- and medium-sized businesses?
What will become of consumer choice under the bill?
Does the federal Judiciary want to adjudicate these disputes? Are they qualified?
Should the bill require the Copyright Office to administer the program through a registration system, similar to the one for vessel hull protection?
I found the testimony given by Lazaro Hernandez, Fashion Designer & Co-Founder, Proenza Schouler, to be really compelling. He discussed the similarities between designing an original piece and creating an original painting. He also briefly mentions the PS1 satchel Proenza Schouler design that has been knocked-off endlessly and with no legal recourse: “Those suggesting that it helps designers to have their works knocked off have certainly never stood in my shoes. Far from helping the designer, design piracy can wipe out young careers in a single season. The most severe damage from lack of protection falls upon emerging designers, who every day lose orders, and potentially their businesses, because copyists exploit the loophole in American law. While established designers and large corporations with widely recognized trademarks can better afford to absorb the losses caused by copying, very few small businesses can compete with those who steal their intellectual capital.”
Testimonials were also given by: Jeannie Suk, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, Professor Christopher Sprigman, University of Virginia School of Law/Professor Kal Raustiala, University of California at Los Angeles School of Law and Kurt Courtney, on behalf of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.