A look at some works of the graduating class at FIT. Our future Tracey Reese’s, DVF’s, Basquiat’s, Joan Mitchell’s…
Hmmmm, I think it’s a mixture of all those elements…read this article about the iconic LV trunk reconstructed into a mini purse, now being copied by a few designers. What are your thoughts??
I had the pleasure of attending the Federal Bar Fashion Law Conference a few weeks ago. Great speakers presented business & unique legal issues affecting the Fashion Industry. Presentations included discussions about 3D printing technology, licensing, Intellectual Property, Counterfeiting, Emerging Markets, & Fashion Financing.
An area of great interest to me is the issue of trademark counterfeiting which is one of the main issues that plagues fashion companies. Trademark counterfeit occurs when a good is made identical or substantially indistinguishable from the trademarked good. Heather McDonald, one of the many panelists, discussed brand protection and anti-counterfeiting strategies. She has extensive experience in the area of anti-counterfeiting litigation conducting many civil seizures of counterfeit goods, she was successful in her very first seizure back in 1986. The impact of counterfeit goods costs companies as well as the economy lots of money, but that is not the only cost. Child labor has been connected to the making of counterfeit goods. Heather discussed an article written in Harper’s Bazaar called “The Human Costs of Fakes”, which discussed Chinese factories hiring girls 13 years of age to make counterfeit handbags, like Gucci, Chanel, Prada etc. The girls lived in slave conditions, locked rooms heated by propane heaters. Four girls died when there was a carbon monixide leak and their bodies were dumped in graves to avoid any news coverage. Such a sad story, that hopefully has detered people from buying these counterfeit goods. If people knew this is what they were supporting, I would pray they would stop purchasing such goods.
All of this is relevant to the fashion client, because these companies are ultimately loosing money due to the making of these goods. Here are some protection tools that can be used to protect your companies: Federal Criminal Statues, State Criminal Statutes, Civil(Real Estate, Civil Seizure), & Customs. What companies must do to protect themselves:
1) Enforce. All enforcement of trademarks requires that your trademark be registered with the USPTO, report your trademark with customs & make sure you keep recordation & registration up to date.
2)Training. Train your staff to catch counterfeit goods that are being returned to stores.
3) Third Party Actions. Collecting from alternative sources, when assets of infringer are not readily accessible. Third party liability is an option to go after someone other than the infringer for sale of counterfeit goods, a building owner or a landlord. In New York, under real property law it allows a landlord to be held responsible for the actions of tenants on the property if they had knowledge of what was going on, on the premises and failed to take the appropriate actions to remedy it.
Great information provided by all the speakers. Happy I could attend and share the information with you. Remember to protect your brand & your business!
Welcome to my very first episode of the Fashion Law Brief Speak Up Segment.
If you have a Fashion Law question or any other legal question “Speak Up” and I will do my best to answer it! Old Caribbean saying “A closed mouth don’t get fed”, let your voice be heard!
Have a great weekend!
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Takes place on March 20th in NYC! Register here
The last thing you want to discuss on a Friday is a contract, clutch your pearls! But, business is an everyday occurrence, so nevermind that it’s Friday, read and learn. Here are just a few contracts that are relevant to your fashion business, that you may or may not have known about:
-The Trademark License Agreement, being able to reach the stage where you are licensing your trademark is a great accomplishment. Some things to keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list:
*The financial soundness of the licensee
*Ability of the licensee to pay royalties/types of royalties
*Experience the licensee has in product category
*Will License be Exclusive or Non-Exclusive
*Term is typically three years six months
*Distribution Channels that will be used
*Due Diligence (thorough research on the parties involved) is a must on the parts of both licensee and licensor
-License Agency Agreement, agents can assist both licensor and licensee in obtaining licenses. These agreements can be exclusive, meaning agent is paid whether or not it brought the deal to the client, or non-exclusive. Agents can be paid a percentage of royalties by the brand owner or a percentage of net sales by the licensee.
-Factoring Agreement, financing your business with a factor. This is where you obtain financing based on your accounts receivables. The factor advances you a percentage of the recievable. The fees and expenses required by factors should be reasonable. Resist imposition of minimum factoring fees on a monthly basis if for example the nature of your business is seasonal. That means less rwcwivable if you are a seasonal business and you don’t want to be on the hook for such monthly fees. Small businesses should focus on an annual minimum fee. Entering into a one year term under this agreement may suit your business.
This concludes this episode of Fashion Friday Business Tips! Don’t want you to fall asleep, next week we will take on a new topic. If you have a question, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Cheers to the weekend and to your successful business!
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