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Is it Patentable?
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   Fashion & patents. Do the two go together?
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   Author  Topic: Fashion & patents. Do the two go together?  (Read 2136 times)
laurac
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Fashion & patents. Do the two go together?
« on: Jul 14th, 2006, 3:06pm »
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HEY EVERYONE... I can really use your help. I'm a young woman entering college. During my high school years I majored in fashion. During my freshman year I came up with the greatest and most original fashion accessory. It start by me handmaking it and wearing it myself. Everywhere I went it seemed to cause a major attraction. So I decided to start making my product my hand and selling them. It was a hit, so I came to the conclusion that maybe this could be my chance to lift off into the fashion world. If my design was a hit off the market imagine how it would sell on the market!! The thing is I was adviced by my professor that I should work on getting some type of patent. My question is how and where? She was unable to asnwer my questions, so I'm left searching for the answers on my own. Do Fashion and patents go together? I was considering maybe selling my design to a major designer, but the thing is I don't even know how to go about doing that. I could really use some help. Thanks!
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Wolfcastle
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Re: Fashion & patents. Do the two go together?
« Reply #1 on: Jul 14th, 2006, 3:40pm »
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Quote:
So I decided to start making my product my hand and selling them. It was a hit, so I came to the conclusion that maybe this could be my chance to lift off into the fashion world. If my design was a hit off the market imagine how it would sell on the market!!

 
How long ago did you make and sell your product? If it was more than a year ago, you have barred yourself from obtaining a patent on it.
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JimIvey
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Re: Fashion & patents. Do the two go together?
« Reply #2 on: Jul 17th, 2006, 1:05pm »
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Brian's right, but I'll go a little further just for the exercise.
 
I've done some work on clothing patents and, in addition to the patent application I wrote, saw cited art that included issued patents on clothing.  However, it's hardly what one would call "fashion" -- racing suits (designed to prevent burns and injury and extremely difficult to get into and out of) and hospital gowns (designed for coverage and easy access without any of the pizzaz).
 
Functional aspects of clothing can be good candidates for a utility patent.  Aesthetic aspects of clothing can be good candidates for a design patent.  I've seen design patents for athletic shoe soles and uppers.  I don't think I've seen design patents on other types of clothing, but I wasn't looking so I can't say they don't exist.  I'd bet they do exist.
 
While I don't know for sure, I'd bet copyright can be helpful too.  Fabric sewn on to a canvas in a mixed-media artwork is protectable by copyright.  I don't see why fabric sewn into artwork meant to be worn should be any different.  But others here have more copyright experience than I do would be able to address that.
 
You should also consider trademarks.  If you've made up a name to call your accessories that's unique and "fanciful" (not descriptive, generic, etc.), that can be a trademark and you can prevent others from using the name (or logo).  It doesn't stop identical copies of your accessory from being made, but at least they'd have to call it something else.
 
I hope that helps.
 
Regards.
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CriterionD
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Re: Fashion & patents. Do the two go together?
« Reply #3 on: Jul 17th, 2006, 6:02pm »
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on Jul 17th, 2006, 1:05pm, JimIvey wrote:
I don't think I've seen design patents on other types of clothing, but I wasn't looking so I can't say they don't exist.  I'd bet they do exist.

 
To add to Jim's comprehensive post,  design patents on other types of clothing definitely do exist.  Here is one random example:
 
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/D473996.pdf
 
I've come across at least a couple more amusing ones, but I can't locate them off the top of my head.
 
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beep
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Re: Fashion & patents. Do the two go together?
« Reply #4 on: Sep 25th, 2006, 6:56pm »
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At the USPTO Inventors' Conference a few weeks ago, one of the attendees had patented some women's underwear inventions.  I didn't ask about specifics, but I had the impression from what she said that her patents were utility patents, not design patents.
 
Depending on whether your work is innovative for appearance (design patent) or function (utility patent -- say, a new type of underwire bra, or a new girdle with more comfortable fit), either type might be appropriate.
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