Fashion Designers Turning To Patents To Protect Their Designs (And Kill The Industry)
from the how-short-sighted-can-you-be dept
While that may sound counterintuitive at first, it's not once you understand the market a little bit more. Fashion is a trend industry. You need a trend to make something popular and the only real way to get a trend is when designers are copying each other. Without that ability trends don't show up, and the demand for the latest "trend" dries up. On top of that, having copycat designs on the lower end actually act as a "signal" that a high-end designer is on to something. It helps prop up the price of those name-brand designs, while making similar copycat designs more affordable to a lower end of the market that would never buy the high end designers. It's both a way of establishing a larger market and doing price discrimination.
However, it appears that fashion designers still don't want to understand the economics of intellectual property and why it may hurt them. Since the bill for copyrights on fashion designs is still making its way through Congress, designers have taken it upon themselves to start using design patents instead and enforcing those rights aggressively (thanks to Gary for sending the story in). Considering that the recording industry's aggressive enforcement of copyrights has contributed to a massive slide in revenue for that industry, you would think that the fashion industry would think twice before following it down that path.