[author: Susan Neuberger Weller]
The bill to extend intellectual property protection to the fashion industry, S. 3523, the substance of which we reported recently, has passed the US Senate Judiciary Committee without amendment. By voice vote on September 20, the bill passed with Senators Lee (R-Utah), Kyl (R-Ariz), Cornyn (R-Texas) and Coburn (R-Okla.) voting against the bill. Lee had offered an amendment to the bill proposing a loser-pays provision to prevent lawsuit abuse, but the amendment was defeated. As previously reported, bills have been introduced since, at least, 2006 trying to extend IP protection to the fashion industry without success. A bill similar to S. 3523 in the House of Representatives, H.R. 2511, awaits action. Participants in an American Bar Association panel discussion on March 29, 2012 expressed positions that IP protection of this type is unnecessary and undesirable, and others have expressed some doubt about whether protection of this type will ever be approved by Congress.