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Intellectual property: Fashion industry and the protection of intellectual property rights

Fashion © Lotfi Mattou, Fotolia.com

Fashion and IPR

The breach of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), especially in the increasingly digitalisation of the market, is a major challenge in the fashion industry. It has been estimated that the share of fake products in global trade amounts to 8%. IPR infringements are a serious threat to the EU economy and especially to fashion business where creativity is at the core of the production process. However, SMEs often lack the necessary knowledge and means to protect their rights.

Effective remedies and sanctions remain very rare despite the fact that the breach of IP rights of fashion or high-end goods is a common practice. IPR infringements are a threat to the high-end products in particular. In fact, their value in emerging markets decreases while the number of illegal copies available on those markets increases. The Commission is contemplating the adoption of new measures to efficiently tackle the issue at a European and international level.

More information on IPR activities of DG Enterprise and Industry.

Regulatory Framework

Support measures

The internet is creating opportunities for the fashion industries. However, illegal activities often discourage fashion companies from taking full advantage of online sales. It is therefore important to ensure that fashion companies and consumers can have a relationship of trust and legal certainty when engaging in borderless e-commerce and online services. The Commission is working towards a digital single market and implements action plans against counterfeiting. Similarly, right holders and internet service providers already seek to reduce the offer of fake goods on the internet.

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