This morning brought news that the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the “Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act,” a bill introduced three months ago by New York Senator Charles E. Schumer to provide “very limited intellectual property protection to the most original design,” WWD is reporting.
If all goes well, and the bill passes the Senate and the House and becomes a law, designers will, for the first time, be able to file for copyright protection for their patterns and designs. As it stands now, copyright statute only offers protection for trademarks (like Chanel)–which can include specific prints–but not for actual cut-and-sewn patterns. When we asked Susan Scafidi, intellectual property attorney and director of Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute, to break down the implications of the bill should it pass into law she told us it could: a) protect a new design for three years after it’s been put into production, b) spur creativity in mass retail, and c) stop designers–peers–from knocking each other off.
Of course, that’s a very big “if.”