Apparel manufacturers. I am worried about the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act ("IDPPPA") and so should you.
Do you know that last week WWD predicted a 10-15% rise in the wholesale price of fashion products for spring 2011? Or home sales are down 27% this year and unemployment remains about 9.5%? Or that cotton costs are up 32.2% and analysts are predicting dim holiday sales?
The last thing our country, its fragile economy and the apparel industry needs is more legislation that is guaranteed to drive up the cost of fashion products. IDPPPA would do just that.
How? By giving fashion houses with fat litigation budgets the opportunity to convince judges that their designs are uniquely different from anything that has ever been made before. If you know your design history, or even have worked in the fashion business for awhile, you know how hard that standard is to meet.
But this is America and everyone is "entitled" to their day in court. Plaintiff’s lawyers (working on a contingency) are creative and judges historically interpret copyright law expansively. Companies all along the supply chain would pass off the cost of litigation to the retailer purchaser. Just what the country needs right now, right?
And the harm of IDPPPA doesn’t stop there. Since IDPPPA requires a plaintiff show that a defendant had "access" to the alleged copied products, designers would have to stop:
- reading fashion magazines;
- shopping retail stores or attending trade shows;
- watching or subscribing to trend reports, or
- caring about the runway shows.
If they do, designers will be prohibited from claiming that their designs are the "result of independent creation." Another hit our economy doesn’t need.
So, if you want to influence the process, now is your chance! Call your congressmen and senator today.
Otherwise, you’ll have no right to complain when it costs more for clothes for you and your family, or when an unscrupulous plaintiff (think of the ones we see making fabric claims) sues you.
Take action now!!!