“I create, therefore I register”
Some may think that the fashion industry has an easy job which involves little or no originality, only copying past tendencies and aiming to volume sales. To the designer that spent hours, days, weeks and months developing a new creation those thoughts are plain insult.
Fashion as any other creation is protected by intellectual property laws. Yes! All you talented artists are protected by both intellectual property laws: Law No. 20-00 concerning Industrial Property and Law No. 65-00 concerning Copyright.
Any sign or combination of signs that can be graphically represented and is capable of distinguishing the products or services of a business from the products or services of another business is a trademark.
The design and your own name (or artistic name) may be protected. Registration before National Office of Industrial Property (Oficina Nacional de la Propiedad Industrial or ONAPI) is necessary to obtain exclusive trademark right. You could register one or more of these types:
- Denominative trademark: words and/or numbers
- Stylized denominative trademark: name with a particular form, type or color
- Graphic trademark: figure, image, design…
- Combined trademark: mixture of denominative and graphic
- Three-dimensional trademark: three-dimensional figure
Trademark registration must be renewed every ten (10) years.
Industrial design protection
A new and singular design of industrial and artisanal product may be protected by registration before ONAPI.
Once registered the industrial design owner has the exclusive right of exploitation (manufacture, trade, use, storing…). Not only of the sole design, but also of the incorporation of the design in another.
Industrial design registration is valid for a total of fifteen (15) years, during this period it must be renewed every five (5) years.
From the very moment that you create the new original design, your work is protected. Beware! The protection is not the idea of the design, but the design itself (the so-call “expression of the idea”).
Even if the registration is not mandatory, it can’t do any harm and it is the best possible way to demonstrate your authorship. The National Office of Copyright (Oficina Nacional de Derecho de Autor or ONDA) is just waiting for your application.
Copyright gives the exclusive rights to use, distribute, communicate, transfer and license your work (economic rights). It also mandates to recognize the work as your own, and to prevent significant changes that could affect their integrity (moral rights). Economic rights lasts during the life of the author and seventy (70) years after his/her death, while moral rights are perpetual.
Remember to ALWAYS mark your work: © (your name), (publication year) All Rights Reserved.