The Fashion Bill Slowly Creeps Towards Becoming a Law


With New York Fashion Week nearing its end, and the whirl of Forever 21’s sewing machines beginning to hum, I couldn’t help but think about where on earth that little piece of legislation called the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (“IDPPPA”) had wandered off to now. Answer: not very far.

Let me take a step back. The IDPPPA aka The Fashion Bill was reintroduced into Congress in July of this year, but legislation attempting to protect fashion designs has been around since at least 2006, when H.R. 5055 was introduced. The IDPPPA, if passed, would amend the Copyright Act to create special protection for fashion designs, but not full-on-all-the-way copyright protection (currently, copyright protection extends for the life of the author plus 90 years). Instead, the IDPPPA would provide for a three-year term of protection for original elements or arrangements of fashion designs. Those elements must be a result of the designer’s “own creative endeavors” and “provide a unique, distinguishable, non-trivial and non-utilitarian variation over prior designs.” We’re talking about real innovation here, like the chain inside the hem Chanel suits (to ensure that the jacket hung properly from your shoulders), the Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress (copied by millions now, but this dress was invented by DVF in the 1970s), or the ever iconic Burberry trench coat.

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