Tag Archives: IDPPA

The sincerest form of flattery

Originally posted 2011-11-08 08:32:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Susan Scafidi seems genuinely shocked — no, I mean, genuinely!  — over this comment by Ralph Lauren:

Nit fun unzer

When the New York Times‘ Eric Wilson listened to Oprah Winfrey and Ralph Lauren chat for charity, one exchange stood out:

“How do you keep reinventing?”

“You copy,” he said. “Forty-five years of copying, that’s why I’m here.”

Of course, everyone knows that the signature looks of the Ralph Lauren family of brands are inspired by classic Americana — with an occasional detour around the globe — but coming from the guy who was on the losing end of the best-known design piracy case of the late 20th century, the admission strikes a chord.

Honestly, honesty?  Now, when the U.S. may be on the brink of finally passing a law that, while it wouldn’t come anywhere near the level of the French protection that wrangled Ralph, would have a similar effect in some cases?

Oh, that law!

Well, a litigation dust-up here and there notwithstanding, Ralph can afford to be honest, honestly.  I think, indeed, Mr. Lifshitz is referring not to copying other proprietary designs, but to that talent that turned him into a gazillionaire:  Mastering the art of assimilating and replicating the look and feel not, with all due respect, of “classic Americana” but a very focused upper-crust Northeastern WASP sub culture and making it his own.

I when I was in college, I observed plenty of Jewish kids from backgrounds like mine, but a generation or two deeper entrenched in assimilation, do this on a personal level.  Some pulled the copying it off, some didn’t.  (I mainly went in the other direction.)  Ralph went beyond accessorizing social climbing mobility and ethnic metamorphosis to selling them.  And he did  it brilliantly, tastefully and very, very profitably.

He’s a real gem.  Why should he lie about “stealing”?

The better question is a question on the one Susan asks at the end of her article:  “Now, when the U.S. may be on the brink of finally passing a law that, while it wouldn’t come anywhere near the level of the French protection that wrangled Ralph, would have a similar effect in some cases?

Of course it would.  Absolutely.  But the real question is not what would effect would the substantive provisions of the IDPPPA have had, in the abstract.  It’s what effect would the cost of the IDPPPA have had on the young House of Lauren. Read More…

IDPPPA ok?

Originally posted 2011-08-01 21:56:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

That’s the  Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, back up for another shot at the big leagues.

We need more laws right?

And just like last year, Susan Scafidi, the original to-die-for fashion-IP blogger, is in favor.  And though I haven’t heard from her lately on this, I’m guessing Staci Riordan is still fairly, uh…

“Con.”

But maybe not.  Interestingly, you have to pretty much go to the frozen north for an in-depth blog article about this statute — in this case, the Canada Fashion Law blog, whose Ashlee Froese interviewed my new blog-buddy and quasi-namesame Charles Colman on the topic.  He suggests that this year’s bill is not just a knockoff of the 2010 version, and that many of the concerns of the previous bill’s critics have been addressed in the current version.  An excerpt:

Some members were troubled by language in the bill – “likely to be mistaken” – that seemed to pull the infringement inquiry back toward trademark law [i.e., as in "likely to be confused" -- RDC (duh)], contrary to its apparent purpose.  We also spent a lot of time examining what might be considered the “core” language of the bill – the threshold requirement that a qualifying design display “a unique, distinguishable, non-trivial and non-utilitarian variation over prior designs” – and whether that requirement was too stringent… or not stringent enough. . . .

I wasn’t involved in the debate at that time, but my understanding is that the [American Apparel and Footwear Association] was primarily concerned about frivolous lawsuits.  (Of course, this is a point of controversy anytime proposed legislation would create a new cause of action.)  The bill’s advocates eventually managed to get the AAFA on board, in large part by changing the required showing for liability from “substantial similarity” (the standard applied in copyright infringement lawsuits) to a higher standard that would require a plaintiff to prove that an alleged knockoff is “substantially identical” to her design.

“Her design”?  Interesting.  Charles seems to know which side his bread is buttered on! Read More…