Our country is known for its rich culture and diversity all over and there is always a festival that is being celebrated here and a lot of women look forward to buying new dresses however here comes the main problem that while some designers spend years in designing a particular dress the same is copied by another and then sold at a cheap price. One such example of this is the Markets in Chandni Chowk in Delhi where a cheap copy of lehengas is sold in almost all the stores. As it has been seen that almost in all the markets situated in different cities fake copies of bags of big designers are being sold where the design and logo is copied completely. Plagiarism of such designs is becoming a huge concern for the designers due to which most of them have started copyrighting their designs so that nobody else can copy them.
In this article, I would like to talk about copyrighting of products and the need for such protection in India.
IMPORTANCE OF IPR IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY
IPR plays a really important role in giving a sort of protection to a particular product against its use, aesthetic aspects and also product protection to the makers. The Indian Fashion market is on a boom across all the continents of the world. Fashion is not only restricted to apparel but also includes various other luxurious products. If we look into trademark its use is not only protection of logos and brand names but it provides a distinctive feature to a product as well.
Now if look into copyrights it provides a huge brand safety to the product makers.
Thus, if a person applies for a patent or copyright protection it will help them a lot and in India, the copyright protection is granted for a long time and it evens stays after a person dies and in an industry, like us this is the need of the hour. There is also an Instagram handle known as Diet Sabya which helps the consumers in getting the correct information about which designs have been copied it is because of them we got to know that Shein, a website loved by almost all women in India and other countries was simply copying the design of another designer and selling it on their name not only this various makeup company simply copy the product of other companies and then intrude those under their brand.
VARIOUS LAWS PROTECTING THE FASHION INDUSTRY
A lot of laws have been introduced which helps in protecting the fashion industry to a huge extent some of them are listed below –
Section 2 (1) of the Trademarks act – This act has helped a lot in protecting our laws such as it helps the person easy to understand the difference between the original and fake products
In cases of copyrights Section 2(C) of the Copyright act, 1957 helps by protecting the work of the artist and all designs which requests protection under is granted permission for 10 years.
Designs Act 2020 – For protection under this act, the product should be first registered under this act by following the proper instructions after which the protection is granted to them. However, under this act only registered designs are entitled to get protection. Even in section 22 of this act if a person is caught copying another person’s design, they will be entitled to pay a fine however registration under this act is a bit time consuming and costly however once registered it provides lots of safeguards
Geographical Indication of goods act – Even this act has helped a lot in protecting our fashion industry however for protection under this act the product has to be proved that it has a special geographical origin and contains all the qualities that are required.
Ritika Pvt Ltd. vs Biba Apparels
In this particular case, the plaintiff had presented a suit claiming copyright in different drawings and sketches which was created by the plaintiff for her dresses being sold under the trademark name Ritu Kumar, it was claimed by the council of the plaintiff that the plaintiff enjoyed goodwill and reputation and she had the trademark for the garment sketches the plaintiff also stated that there were maintaining digital records of every creation and also an identification code was given to every design as checked in the invoice. In the end, the judgement was given by the court stating that the particular matter does not come under ambit of section 15(2) of the Indian Copyright act and thus the suit was dismissed leaving the parties to give their own cost.
Castrol India Limited & Ors. V. Iqbal Singh Chawla & Ors.
In this particular case, a petition was filed by the petitioners Castrol India Limited on the basis of the design, colour scheme, style and packaging of a particular container which was made by the defendants for their product which was quite similar to Castrol. The petitioners contended that the defendants should not use the work ‘Active’ for their products because it is similar to their product. After hearing contentions from both the parties the court held that the defendants should not use the word active.
The fashion industry is full of various products that carry huge value so it is important to protect such products from any kind of problems and due to this reason, there is a huge need for IPR laws that will provide them with the protection they require. It is the day of the designers to become knowledgeable about the various laws that exist which can help them to provide protection and then get their designs registered so that no cheap copy of those products can be found.
Though various designers are trying to copyright their collection and have even done it there are still various markets in which such cheap copies are being sold so as per me there is a need for a few more strict laws so that this can be completely stopped.
Even in the Christian Louboutin case, it was found that his designs were being copied by another person and counterfeit or knockoff products of them were being sold due to which they had to face huge loss and only after the case was taken in court justice was granted so indeed this is an example on why designers need to be aware of all the laws as even one mistake can cause losses worth crores.
Also, it is the duty of the government to take care that this is not done though we know that the process of counterfeiting and knockoffs cannot be removed completely then also we should trademark or copyright designs so that the persons found guilty of it could be punished. Also, the designers must hire proper legal councils who can help them in understanding properly as to under which act the designs should be protected to get the best results.
Author(s) Name: Akanksha Chowdhury (Student, Amity University, Kolkata)