By James Stewart
It is an exciting time for fashion law in the Second Circuit. On the heels of a landmark trademark decision holding that red soles could serve as a source identifier, the Second Circuit now approaches fashion law from a different perspective—copyright.
As mentioned in previous posts, fashion designers today rely primarily on trademark, patent, and anti-counterfeiting laws as the sources of protection for their designs. In some instances, designers invoke narrow copyright protection for their works.
Prom and pageant dress designer Jovani Fashion Ltd. (“Jovani”) brought a copyright infringement action against Fiesta Fashions (“Fiesta”) in the District Court for the Southern District of New York for allegedly copying decorative aspects of Jovani’s designs. Jovani’s claim of copyright protection is founded upon the idea that the design at issue combines features which serve both decorative and utilitarian purposes, but can be separated from the article and function independently. The District Court dismissed the action for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.