Creativity in fashion: The complex effects of IP

William Van Caenegem, Violet Atkinson

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The fashion industry is an important part of the domestic economy currently worth $12 billion,3 but also a revenue earner of increasing importance for Australian exports. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, when discussing the importance of nurturing Australian fashion design talent on an international scale pointed out that, “… [a]flourishing fashion industry means economic growth not only in Australian but also throughout our region”. The Australian fashion industry is too often over-looked as a real creative industry. The success of Australian designers such as Zimmermann and Sass & Bide proves that this is a significant misconception and undervalues fashion design as a generator of future intellectual capital (IC). Unlike the extractive industries,the IC in fashion design is an inexhaustible future resource. Intellectual Property (IP) protection of fashion design is therefore an important topic.In this article we examine the basic structure of legal protection in the fashion industry. By its nature fashion is both creative and cyclical, which presents particular challenges for lawyers and policy makers. We find that although the design registration system is the most suitable for fashion design, factors of cost and delay detract from its practical utility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-152
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Intellectual Property Law Bulletin
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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