Law Research Paper Sample on Intellectual Property Rights in New Zealand Fashion Industry

Intellectual Property Rights in New Zealand Fashion Industry

Intellectual Property Rights – Global Trend

Intellectual property is defined as the creation that originates from the mind such as inventions like symbols, artistic works, designs, literary works, as well as various names and images used for commercial purposes. Over the past years, there has been a strong push for establishment of universal Intellectual Property Rights to protect creations of the mind from counterfeiting and wrongful reproduction. The modern Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) actually gives a person right over his or her creation of the mind; in essence, it give the creator an absolute right over the use of his or her creation of the mind for a given time.

The history of global Intellectual Property Rights can be traced back in Europe with the establishment of Statute of Monopolies and Statute of Anne in 1624 and 1710 respectively; these were simple documents that expressed the need of protecting creation of the mind. With advancement in technology and increase in knowledge, they established the concept of intellectual property in the business field and led to the development of patent law and copyright law respectively in the early 19th century. As illustrated by Chaudhry and Alan (202), the term intellectual property was first used in 1769, however, the modern usage of the term started in 1808. Since then, several developments have taken place, and in 1967 United Nations formed World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as its agency through which the world could protect intellectual property. As explained by Kur (99), it was at this point when the term Intellectual Property Rights began to be used on wide scale and started taking various trends on the global perspective.

It is essential to note that the history of intellectual property right did not begin with inventions, laws and regulations but rather various royal grants issued by Queen Elizabeth I between 1560 and1603 allowing monopolistic firms to have privileges in the market. As a result, approximately 200 years later, patents and copyrights slowly became legal rights that must be obtained by all inventors in order to have exclusive rights over the production and sale of their inventions, which was mostly commercial and scientific; this trend continued for sometimes as new controls and measures were being considered. During this time, the focus was on scientific and mechanical inventions. With this new trend, the Intellectual Property Rights slowly evolved from royal prerogative to common-law doctrine.

Apart from the royal prerogative, several other factors and forces have been acting as the driving force fuelling the global trend in Intellectual Property Rights. A part from the royal prerogative, amongst the major factors that have been fueling the trend is the need to promote progress in commerce and scientific invention. According to May (78), advocates for Intellectual Property Rights argues that by having limited exclusive rights for disclosure on inventions and other creations of the mind, the creators and the society at large would steadily progress. In essence, it would create an avenue through which both the copyright owner and the patentee mutually benefit. Even today, the need for progress in the society and mutual benefit has been a major factor influence modern trend in the intellectual property rights globally. According to Acemoglu and Ufuk (54), another factor of significance fuelling modern trend in the global intellectual property right is the need to protect cultural heritage. However, some people argue that supporters of international Intellectual Property Rights are pushing for absolute protection that they consider undesirable because it does not encourage innovation.

Over the years, intellectual property rights has been embodied mostly in music, videos, movies, articles, books as well as illustration among other creative contents. However, the ongoing revolution especially in the digital industry has brought intellectual property right to other fields such has fashions. The size of the trend has been increasing steadily over the last two decades, as people comprehend the significance of growth. Initially, the trend in Intellectual Property Rights was focused on helping the inventor or creator achieve absolute protection to his or her creation or invention.

However, over the last few years, the global intellectual property right is currently being influenced by multiple trends. One major shift in the global intellectual property right trend concerns the distribution model. In particular, distribution model has been slowly shifting towards ubiquitous, instantaneous access especially using social networks. This has played significant role in increasing the reach of content creators. Advancement in technology has also has significance influence in the trend – content creators are nowadays using new technologies to directly engage with their audience. This approach has established new mechanisms for collaboration in the content generation. Business models are also shifting with the establishment of licenses for accessing content. The use of license is slowly replacing ownership of copies of content.

The magnitude and scope of the trend has also increased significantly with many creators and countries joining the bandwagon. The world has recorded steady increase in the number products registered for copyright and patents. In addition, several countries have established independent copyright laws in their jurisdiction to protect local creators or innovators. Given the current nature of the trend, the intellectual property right will continue moving towards licensing and use of new technologies. However, the objective of the intellectual property rights will significantly shift away from the traditional absolute protection over the coming years. In addition, more laws will be established that enables creators of the intellectual property to have sufficient incentives for their products. Chaudhry and Alan (176) consider that in the coming years the trend in intellectual property right will focus on international harmonization of local laws and provisions – this is expected to create more value for the creators. On the contrary, there would be little focus on protection of cultural heritage in the development of intellectual property right.

Implications of the Trend to Fashion Industry Worldwide

Intellectual property right has apparently become of great global influence and its effects on the fashion industry are vividly noticeable. Fashion has steadily grown to become an important global industry with designers catering form a wide range of consumers from all walks of life. In this industry, the fashion designers are currently teaming up to develop highly coveted merchandise that requires the intervention of intellectual property rights to protect creators and innovators. In New Zealand, fashion designers have become important pillars of innovation and creativity contributing more than $750 million revenue to the national economy annually. Emerging trends in the intellectual property rights is pushing every creator and designer to completely protect their work – the desire to protect intellectual property has been steadily growing in the fashion industry. However, fashion designers are still unable to protect their work in a similar manner the musicians are able to protect their songs from counterfeiting and unlawful reproduction.

Granger (89) argues that the scope of intellectual property rights in the fashion industry has significantly expanded over the last few years all over the world. New and emerging trends in the field of intellectual property right shave subsequently enabled patents to be granted to wide variety of common business methods associated with fashion, areas that were previously not considered. For many years, copyright laws were not extended to fashion industry such as clothing and ornaments amongst others. However, with the recent development in the industry, many professionals in the fashion industry are considering the use of intellectual property laws to protect their inventions. Within the last one decade, several supports have emerged pushing for expansion of copyright laws in the fashion industry – as a result, some legislation have been documented to regulate the use of copyright in the industry.

Recent development in the fashion industry and the emerging trends in intellectual property rights are compelling both policymakers and courts to limit design protection. This is largely because fashion designs fall in legal limbo with the schemes provided by intellectual property. Further still, fashion designs are categorized within the seams of traditional intellectual property. On the other hand, some fashions designers are expressing concern that such protection might create monopolies in the industry of benefiting designers. This follows recent developments in other industries whereby intellectual property right has been a strong force for the establishment of monopolies. Following these examples, some professional designers argue that intellectual property right would create stiff neck competition thus hindering competitiveness of the fashion industry.

The current trends in global intellectual property right have caused variety effects in the fashion industry. For instance, it has created a situation whereby fashion designers are want to demand payment for their design element something which was not practiced some years ago. As argued by Leslie (44), this cost would be paid by both the public and other people in the fashion industry thus pushing prices higher. On the other hand, higher prices would make the less affluent people unable to afford the highly-priced fashion products thus directly affecting the profitability and growth of fashion industry. As a result, policymakers and professionals in the fashion industry are still not convinced that new protection through intellectual property rights would benefit the industry.

Even though professionals in the fashion industry are still grappling with the idea of intellectual property right, not all is lost. As the push to accept intellectual property right in the fashion industry continues, various designers especially in the textile and clothing sector have made some exceptions. For instance, even though clothing designs are not completely protected by copyrights, some designs on parts of the cloth such as surface have been selected for copyright protection.  This is the emerging trend in how fashion industry deals with the issues of intellectual property rights. With these developments, some fashion designers for clothing are copyright protection some parts of the cloths as independent works of art. This practice is slowly being extended to cover copyrights for paintings and drawings on clothes, patterns for knits, lace designs on wedding gowns, as well as print designs on dresses.

The main viewpoint of professionals in the fashion industry is that intellectual property right would distort the industry’s growth as well as expression of the artwork – there is slight difference on this perception in different parts of the world. For instance, majority of professional fashion designs in the European region believe in the intellectual property right as compared those coming from North America. The difference comes in the perceived effects of intellectual property rights in the industry. There has been a great deal of cultural influence amongst the design professionals who are pushing for the acceptance of intellectual property rights in the fashion industry. According to Sople (43), most fashion design professionals who believe in intellectual property argue that it is an effective tool in the protection of cultural heritage.

The fashion industry is currently investing huge sums of money in order to promotion development and creation of new and original designs, which has apparently fuelled the need for acceptance of intellectual property rights in the fashion industry. Some fashion designers strongly believe that significantly protect their artwork and business. Despite this remarkable investment, little amount has been committed to the development of relevant national copyright laws in most countries. However, in some countries especially in Europe, there are enough copyrights laws that protect fashion designs showing steady progress towards the establishment of international intellectual property rights.

Initially, there was a general reluctance in registering fashion designs with intellectual property rights. As explained by Manlow (109), the primary reason for this reluctance or failure is the short life cycle of fashion products, which is normally not more than twelve month. However, this practice is rapidly changing as many more fashion designs takes up registration for their product very serious. A new approach is given in which the arguments for registration of fashion designs is considered on a case-to-case basis. Registration is being taken serious because it has dawned on fashion designers that it would deter other forms of copying and counterfeiting their product. Some countries and regions such as United Kingdom have taken it upon themselves to help by using unregistered form of protection to some fashion designers. Other members of European Union have also picked up this new approach in promoting intellectual property rights in fashion industry. Unregistered protection has proved very helpful especially to business and fashion designers with limited budget.

Some conclusions can be drawn based on the significance of this trend especially as relates to the fashion industry. First, the intellectual property right is still taking shape as designers learn the significance of copyright laws. With this trend, continue taking shape, many more fashion designers will accept intellectual property rights in the new future. The significance of this trend is based on the dire need for promote progress in the society. On the other hand, as the use of new technologies increases, the use of traditional mechanisms in intellectual copyright would be limited since it is cumbersome and does not promote global competitiveness.

As explained by Granger (99), with the increasing use of new technologies, the intellectual property is increasingly perceived as a strategic protection in the market of fashion designs; this trend will continue as many more fashion designers turn to intersection property rights to promote progress and protect their inventions. Majority of professionals in the fashion industry are handling the issue of intellectual property with caution due to mixed perceptions about is likely effects on the industry as a whole. Following the emerging trends in the industry, majority of fashion designers are not willing to register for intellectual property right. However, there is mixed feeling as some professionals have fully adopted the idea of intellectual property right in the fashion industry.

How This Global Trend Is Affecting Fashion Industry in New Zealand

In New Zealand, the intellectual property right trend has had various impacts in the fashion industry, some of which will be discussed in this section. Before illustrating the impact of intellectual property trend, it is essential to discuss the political, social as well as economic background of New Zealand and how it relates to the fashion industry. New Zealand is considered one of the biggest and prosperous economies in Asia – Pacific region. Far reaching privatization and deregulation which started in the early 1980s has largely helped the country achieve great economic growth over the past few decades –  various economic sectors such as agriculture, industry, trade as well as fashion design have been liberated. Fashion industry is flourishing and has achieved growth over the past years due to thriving tourism and manufacturing sectors.

New Zealand is a typical modern and highly competitive economy just like other countries in Europe and North America region. As explained by Brand, Jose and Anne (99), the new Zealand economy has significantly benefited from its strong commitment to promoting open market system – the existing open market policies has directly facilitated vibrant flow of trade and investment in the country thus allowing various economic sectors such as fashion design and manufacturing to grow rapidly. Another essential factor to reckon in New Zealand is that government does not interfere with the business process. The government applies transparent and efficient regulation in business thus directly encouraging entrepreneurship and rapid development of private sector economy. In addition, the finical sector provides adequate support and access to much needed resources.

In New Zealand, the fashion industry of 2000 is not the same as the fashion industry of 2015. This is largely because the global trend in intellectual property rights has had varied impacts on fashion profession in this country. First, registration of intellectual property right has facilitated speedy growth of fashion industry in New Zealand. This is largely because interest in the enforcement of intellectual property right has significantly changed over time. Furthermore, most fashion professionals in New Zealand strongly believe that the situation will be quite different by the year 2020. Several changes are anticipated that will directly affect the regulation and applicability of intellectual property rights in the fashion industry.

Because of the emerging global trends in intellectual property rights, some professional fashion designers in New Zealand are developing strong offensive against intellectual property interests especially in some selected trademarks and patents. Due to the current trend, most professionals in New Zealand have started perceiving fashion design as an important industry. This is fueled by the increasing interest in New Zealand fashions by foreign countries majorly from Europe and North America region. With the increasing trend, professionals and market analysts believes that New Zealand will become a major competitive threat in fashion industry over the next two decades. The New Zealand fashion market is steadily evolving as many more professionals renew their interest in intellectual property rights.

In New Zealand, fashion designers increasingly perceive intellectual property right as an essential mechanism for market protection. As a result, interest in intellectual property will continue growing in New Zealand fashion with the possibility of implementation of new regulations. With new perception, knowledge and ideologies, fashion industry in New Zealand is slowly dropping the traditional mechanism of market protection because it has been proved to be cumbersome and less competitive. Instead of the tradition mechanism, fashion designers are slowly adopting the new intellectual property right, which is slowly changing the landscape of fashion industry. The emerging trends are placing intellectual property right at the top most position for protection in the market. This is highly needed given that New Zealand promotes policies of open economy (Henry and Bruin 76).

It is very interesting to note the new focus which is being placed on border measures as the industry welcomes intellectual property right. Traditional border measures are not efficient in protecting intellectual property in fashion industry. The need of replacement of boarder measures is rapidly taking shape as professionals and designers are learning from other countries across Europe where it has been very successful. In New Zealand, the fashion industry has not established clear distinction between intellectual property rights and traditional border measures – this distinction is very essential in defining the scope of intellectual property rights in the fashion industry (Molloy and Wendy 122).

Due to the current global trend, government authorities in New Zealand are becoming more zealous about registration and application of custom duties on intellectual property with anticipation that fashion designers would welcome the move. However, this is not happening as anticipated as fashion designers and professional are apparent reluctant to undertake registration for copyrights and patents. Just as was anticipated by many professionals, the registration for intellectual property right has increased tax burdens especially to the local public and professional designers alike. In addition, new measures require IPRs protection in New Zealand is currently to be based on application to custom authorities. The main problem with this new development is that custom authorities in New Zealand have limited capacity to determine legitimacy as well as validity of the registration.

At the moment, authorities in New Zealand are putting regulations and laws governing intellectual property rights. Even though the current laws are not comprehensive, in the future, there would be significant in increase in minimum threshold for criminal liabilities associated with intellectual property rights. Attention of the public, designers, professionals as well as authorities is steadily shifting to strict regulations and government control of the industry. It is anticipated that authorities in New Zealand would, in the near future, establish criminal liabilities against importation and exportation of fashion products such as clothing which are bearing protected marks. This would have significant implications for generic fashion products in the New Zealand market (Hui 212).

A likely new consideration in the New Zealand fashion market is the introduction of resale provision under trademark owner label. This would be enabled an act of parliament allowing members to resale protected products under trademark owner label. This would be mutually beneficial, as it would allow both designers and resale to benefit from the protected product. In essence, intellectual property rights in New Zealand will continue expanding as many more people comes to the realization of its fundamental benefits. In conclusion, the trend in intellectual property rights would continue promoting progress and growth of fashion industry in New Zealand and the world over as it slowly becomes a universal requirement.

Work Cited

Acemoglu, Daron, and Ufuk Akcigit. “Intellectual property rights policy, competition and innovation.” Journal  of the European Economic Association 10.1 (2012): 1-42.

Brand, Jan, José Teunissen, and Anne . Zwaag. Global Fashion, Local Tradition: On the GlobalizationofFashion. Warnsveld: Terra, 2005. Print.

Chaudhry, Peggy, and Alan Zimmerman. Protecting Your Intellectual Property Rights: Understanding the Role of Management, Governments, Consumers and Pirates. New York, NY: Springer, 2013. Print.

Granger, Michele. Fashion: The Industry and Its Careers. , 2012. Print.

Henry, Colette, and Bruin A. De. Entrepreneurship and the Creative Economy: Process, Practice and Policy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub, 2007. Print.

Hui, Winnie W. M. An Exploratory Study of the New Zealand Online Fashion Industry: Consumer and Organization Perspectives. , 2005. Print.

Kur, Annette. Intellectual Property Rights in a Fair World Trade System: Proposals for Reform of Trips. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub, 2011. Print.

Leslie, Christopher R. Antitrust Law and Intellectual Property Rights: Cases and Materials. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.

Manlow, Veronica. Designing Clothes: Culture and Organization of the Fashion Industry. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2007. Print.

May, Christopher. The global political economy of intellectual property rights: The new enclosures?. Vol. 3. Routledge, 2013.

Molloy, Maureen, and Wendy Larner. Fashioning Globalization: New Zealand Design, Working Women and the Cultural Economy. , 2013. Print.

Sople, Vinod V. Managing Intellectual Property: The Strategic Imperative. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd., 2012. Print.