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GRAMMYs dress by Rene Rene

Trademarks in Fashion Design and Visual Art

Last week, I met with a design team from a local boutique that has been in business for over twenty years in the Little Five Points area of Atlanta. I was very excited to find out that there was a team that could work with me on a dress for The Grammys. I want to participate in the tradition of fashion at these events and represent someone that I esteem in the local community.

In designing a dress, locating fabric, sizing, designing, fitting, and more, I see so much work involved. Yet fashion designs quickly rise and fall due to the cyclical nature of the fashion industry. To build and protect the good reputation of a fashion design business, it is wise to file for federal trademark protection of the brand name. In this instance, the designer might trademark his or her name (i.e., “John Doe Designs”) to indicate the source of the fashion design.

I also gave someone a painting of an old venue logo as a stylized head of a PEZ dispenser. PEZ is protected intellectual property. The PEZ dispenser issued as United States Patent No. 2,620,061 in December 1952, which is now expired. PEZ is also a federally registered trademark, having its first registration as “sweets; namely, flavored candies, specifically peppermint candies,” in May 1952. Trademarks do not expire so long as the owner continues to use the mark in commerce in line with the claimed goods or services. Thus, they can live on in perpetuity.

Whether you are a fashion designer or artist, it is helpful to know what role that trademarks play in fashion design and visual art. Never hesitate to consult an attorney on the issue of trademarks; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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