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Relation between IPR and Fashion

IPR or Intellectual Property Rights deals with the legal rights given to the founder, inventor, or creator to protect his foundation, invention, or creation for a specific period of time. The IPR mainly includes and surrounds Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, Designs, Geographical Indications, etc.


IPR or Intellectual Property Rights deals with the legal rights given to the founder, inventor, or creator to protect his foundation, invention, or creation for a specific period of time. The IPR mainly includes and surrounds Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, Designs, Geographical Indications, etc. The Fashion Industry plays a major role in the field of Law. India being a land of diverse cultural heritage, sacred traditions, art, and aesthetics, contributes abundantly to the fashion world. India plays a vital role as regards Indian ethnic designs, materials, patterns, and styles in the international fashion arena. Fashion is not only confined to apparel but extends broadly to goods like shoes, jewelry, accessories, beauty products, luggage, and other luxurious items. [1]

Indian Fashion Industry

The Fashion business is quite possibly India’s most significant area. Across the mainland, the Indian-style market is blooming. Designs, innovativeness, creativity, and interesting styles are at the front of fashion. At whatever point anything different arises, it is generally joined by copies, requiring the requirement for original work assurance. As the plans become notable, the gamble of duplication rises, showing up in a huge misfortune for the business sectors of the genuine and genuine merchandise. Consistently, the fashion hub makes another arrangement of designs that should be safeguarded and represented by a legitimate lawful forum. The owner is guaranteed IPR insurance for its utilization, tasteful qualities, and item usefulness or print. Interestingly, the fashion business is ready to develop into a $106 billion industry by 2026, raising the Indian fashion market on maps. India’s assets rely upon its custom, yet additionally on raw materials. In addition, the world over, India is the third-biggest producer of cotton, the second-biggest producer of silk, and the fifth-biggest maker of man-made fibres. [2]

How do Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) govern the fashion industry in India?

Once a design acquires its materialistic form through mere imagination and its originality is evident through its existence, it automatically finds its place in the category of unique and artistic work. The fashion industry is an exhaustive business that is constantly generating and commercializing ground-breaking creativity and innovations. The fashion business has developed so much now that it has turned into an issue of distinction to claim top-notch brands. The clients are continually drawn in towards marked items however once more, their being costly is not reasonable for everybody. In addition, this prompts falsifying of the products, replicated and offered to the clients at a less expensive rate. Furthermore, this is where the job of intellectual property rights comes into existence.

Trademark: A trademark is a logo or symbol that differentiates one product from another. Trademarks safeguard the name of a brand and its characteristics. The laws relating to trademarks are governed under the Trademark Act of 1999. Any goods or products will have a name and a logo to separate them from other related things. At the point when an individual thinks about a brand, the logo of that brand’s product immediately strikes a chord. Brand names assist design houses in laying out a cozy relationship with their clients. It essentially helps them in safeguarding their image value against encroachment. In case of fraudulent utilization of trademarks, imprisonment for a period of not less than six months which may extend up to three years, along with a fine of not less than fifty thousand rupees and which may extend up to two lac rupees is prescribed under section 103[3] and 104[4] of the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

Copyright: The term ‘copyright’ means the exclusive and assignable legal right given for the protection of original works. The Copyright Act of 1957 safeguards the creative design work of the designer. The creator’s work of design is safeguarded by copyright. It is that part of IPR which ensures assurance for literary and artistic work albeit currently distributed and put to utilize. It very well may be looked for under the Copyright Act, of 1957 in India for the time of life of the craftsman and 60 extra years after he dies.[5] It assumes a significant part in persuading a maker and in this way guaranteeing that the unlawful utilization of his imagination or expertise is not obtained. In Rajesh Masrani v. Tahiliani Design[6], an interim injunction was issued in the favor of the plaintiff,  as it was claimed that the designs delivered while creating garments and adornments including the embellishments and patterns and imprinted on the texture bringing about the final product, were artistic works under Section 2(c)(i) of the Copyright Act,1957[7]. In Ritika Private Ltd. v. Biba Apparels Private Ltd,[8]  the plaintiff has filed the suit claiming copyright in various drawings and sketches which are created on garments by the plaintiff for dresses being sold under the trade name RITU KUMAR. The plaintiff claims to be the first owner of the copyright in all the products of the plaintiff’s company created from the sketches, drawings, designs, etc. thus, the plaintiff bought a suit against the defendant seeking an injunction restraining the defendants from reproducing, selling or offering etc., prints or garments which are an imitation or reproduction of the plaintiff’s prints and garments. It is to be noted that Plaintiff’s designs were not registered under the Designs Act, 2000. The plaintiff lost out in ownership of the copyright works as the plaintiff had not secured registrations of the designs, drawings, and sketches, under the Designs Act as implicitly laid down under the Copyright Act, and as a result, the plaintiff could not ask for an injunction of the infringing activity and the case was dismissed.

Patent: Patent means the official right to be the only person to make, use or sell an item or creation consisting of a document or a record that shows this is your right. The laws relating to patents are governed under the Patents Act, of 1970 (amended in 2005). As a rule, patents cover mechanical advancements that are genuinely remarkable, novel in nature, and a non-clear turn of events. Accordingly, patents are not the main IP apparatus that strikes a chord while talking about style innovations and the fashion business. When a craftsman needs an absolute right for his work, he should enroll it under the Design Act, of 2000. The development should pass three straightforward assessments to apply for a planned patent. To start with, the development should be new and not known. Second, the development should be non-self-evident, and that implies it should be a critical progression over present innovation. Basic adjustments of already existing instruments don’t comprise patentable development. [9]


In the consistently developing fashion industry, creative expression should be safeguarded through Intellectual Property (IP) Rights. The worth of each modern design asset and the brand that showcases that resource are intellectual capital that fortifies a business position inside the fashion business. While considering IP inside the fashion business, the challenge is to deal with the insurance of various plans on an occasional/seasonal basis. This includes the security of the industrial design for everything as well as looking for and making important and captivating names for each design. Take runways, for instance, not many designs on display are sold in stores. The runway is a chance for the designers to show their inventive ability, draw in media attention and fabricate awareness of their brand. They likewise give an open door to a brand to sell more affordable things, for example, fragrances, beauty care products, or Shirts, with brand names noticeably shown on them.


Indian markets are well known among individuals searching for rich designs at doable costs, which are the principal duplicates of popular plans. For instance, celebrities’ bridal lehengas are generally requested in some notable street markets, to a great extent in Delhi. These roads offer work to many, however, their entire business philosophy depends on design piracy. The fact of the matter is that copying ideas are unethical, yet they additionally cause critical issues for very good quality style stores. The fashion industry is a continually rising and changing industry that is probably not going to decline. Subsequently, stricter regulations are important to ensure legitimate play in this area. The gamble of duplicating and forging brings about money-related harms, however, it likewise deflects artists from creating something exceptional. Imagination is an ability, and prevailing in the fashion industry is required. Encroachment of protected innovation in the style business beats fashioners down, however, it additionally makes a monetary difference. Subsequently, it is fundamental that IP designers stay careful and make a solid effort to get satisfactory security for their work. What’s more, the government should perceive the new idea of duplicating and institute a specific regulation directly relevant to the business of fashion for safeguarding intellectual properties and, at last, for upgrading the economy of our country.

Author(s) Name: Shaikh Iram Rizwan (Dr. D.Y. Patil College of Law, Nerul. Mumbai University)


[1] Yosha Dubey, ‘The Role of IPR in Fashion Industry’ (IJRASET Journal, 28 January 2022) <> accessed 08 October 2022.

[2] Purvi Rohit Pugalia, ‘Indian apparel and fashion market in next five years: Industry growth, challenges and opportunities’ (The Times of India, 12 July 2022] <> accessed 08 October 2022.

[3] Trade Marks Act 1999, s 103.

[4] Trade Marks Act 1999, s 104.

[5] Smriti Chand, ‘Useful Notes on The Copyright Act, 1957’ (Your Article Library) <> accessed 08 October 2022.

[6] Rajesh Masrani v Tahiliani Design (2008) SCC OnLine Del 1283.

[7] Copyright Act 1957, s 2(c)(i).

[8] Ritika Private Ltd. v. Biba Apparels Private Ltd (2016) (Civil) OS No.182/2011.

[9] Vishaka Agarwal, ‘IPR Registration in Fashion Industry of India’ (2019) 24 Journal of Intellectual Property Rights 35-40 <> accessed 12 October 2022.