Fashion is a reflection of one’s personality and the creativity which evolved from the mind of an intellectual. Fashion has been playing a vital role in the lives of each and every individual. It is a result of human creativity and that creativity needs to be safeguarded. Therefore, there should be laws to safeguard the human mind’s innovation. This article will reflect the relationship between the IPR and the Fashion Industry.


Despite being the fastest growing business in the world today, piracy has a significant impact on the fashion industry. Piracy has reached to such an extent that there are counterfeit products of each and every design available in the market, which severally affects the hard work of the designers in the fashion industry. This is where Intellectual Property Laws come into play.

The first and foremost is to protect the brand of the product, which is defined under Section 2 (1) (zb) of the Trademark Act, 1999.[1] As the brand is the bottom-line of any product, one should protect their brand by filing and registering their brand name as per the standards of the trademark registry. If brands are not protected under trademark law, then there is a high chance of infringement of the brand name of the product. Therefore, it is essential for the fashion industry to register their brand names on a propriety basis, which will help to protect the brand from infringers.

Secondly, in respect of the fashion industry, there is overlap between The Copyright Act and The Designs Act, as it is a known fact that the fashion industry is aesthetic in itself, therefore aesthetic and literary work need to be protected by registering the design or getting the copyright on it. In copyright, the creator gets the protection for the lifetime of the creator plus 60 years[2], which is a very vast period that inspires the creator to create more and more designs by being protected from infringers. Under 15 (1) Copyright Act, 1957[3], no copyright protection will be granted to designs which are already registered under the Design Act. Only designs which are not registered under the Design Act can get copyright protection under sec 15 (2) Copyright Act, 1957[4].

Thirdly, the industrial design defined under Sec 2 (d) of the Design Act 2000[5], which is only for registered designs, novel designs, should not be disclosed to the public or not be known in the market, and should not be obscene[6]. If the design fulfills the entire possible requirement under sec 4, then a design can be initiated for filing and registration which will get protection for 10 years, extendable to 15 years, by this creator can protect their infringers.


Creators invest so much of their time and energy into creating a single design, but it is being copied in minutes. Fashion designers are continually trying to cope with the issue by getting the design registered, taking copyright or trademark for it, but still can’t get rid of the problem of counterfeiting. One of the major reasons is that the counterfeit products are cheap as compared to the original ones, which attracts the majority of the population. Even the big-shot fashion houses can’t save their brands from getting infringed, as happened in the case of Ritika Private Limited v. Biba Apparels Private Limited.[7] Also, there are several markets in India which are famous for selling counterfeit products, like Sarojani Market Delhi, Palika Market Delhi, Linking Road Mumbai, etc, which provide a wide range of counterfeit products. During the ongoing pandemic, the piracy rate has increased tremendously because of the prevalence of the digital market all around us. People can’t step out of their homes, which has led to a growth of 74 percent in online shopping since March 2020[8].


Owing to the rise of counterfeit market, IPR is the only solution available to protect the creator’s rights.. But the time process involved in protecting the same is quite lengthy. Therefore, for the speedy disposal of IP cases, there is a need for stringent, transparent and accountable legislation with heavy penalties for dealing with counterfeiting and piracy.

[1] trade mark” means a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others and may include shape of goods, their packaging and combination of colours;

[2] The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1992, No. 13, Acts of Parliament, 1992 (India).

[4] Copyright in any design, which is capable of being registered under the 1 [***] Designs Act, 1911 (2 of 1911) 2 , but which has not been so registered, shall cease as soon as any article to which the design has been applied has been reproduced more than fifty times by an industrial process by the owner of the copyright, or, with his licence, by any other person

[5] design” means only the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament or composition of lines or colours applied to any article whether in two dimensional or three dimensional or in both forms, by any industrial process or means, whether manual, mechanical or chemical, separate or combined, which in the finished article appeal to and are judged solely by the eye

[6] Section 4 in the Designs Act, 2000

[7] In the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi, CS(OS) No.182/2011, Decided on 23rd March, 2016. The case was lost by Plaintiff as the design was not registered under the Design Act, 2000 and the copyright protection on design ends as soon as the design is applied 50 times to an article by an industrial process

[8] a recent study on consumer behaviour post-Covid done by Nielsen, Caravan and EY has found.

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