How To Patent Your Clothing Design
Protect Your Clothing Design With A Patent.
Can you protect your clothing designs with a patent in the UK ? Yes, you can. But it is seldom worth while, unless your designs have some very unique features, or you are creating a unique idea, or feature for a functional garment .
You can either protect your garments design, or its function. While you can only protect one garment per patent, it is possible to protect multiple variations of the same design.
What Is A Patent ?
A patent is an exclusive right granted by the state, allowing the owner to control the commercial use of the idea or invention for a given period of time. You can only patent something that is not in the public domain. You cannot patent a business idea, or concept.
How Long Does A Patent Last ?
If a patent is granted you can maintain the rights to your idea for up to 20 years, as long as you continue to renew it. The patent would only apply in the UK. If you wanted the it to apply to other countries, you would need to take out a patent in each country separately.
Where Do I Apply For A Patent ?
You can apply for a patent at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). This used to be called the UK patent office. They assist with all forms of idea protection in the UK.
How Much Does A Patent Cost ?
It costs £250 to file an application for a patent. But the real cost is in lawyers fees in drafting the specifications. Patent lawyers make on average around £15000 a year. Although you could do this yourself, it is best left to the professionals if you are going to do it at all.
While it can cost a lot of money to prosecute a patent, it is in itself a deterrent that will prevent most people from copying your ideas.
What Is A Patent Search ?
Even if you have done an extensive search for your idea online, you still need to do a proper patent search . A patent search will include all patent applications, whether granted or not. Not all patented ideas have come to market.
Can You Trademark Clothing Designs ?
Fashion designs can be protected as a design or copyright work, but the design must be new, rather than an adaptation of something else. It must also be extra-ordinary in some way, rather than commonplace.
The general idea of copyright law is to encourage creativity for the public benefit, rather than to make the designer rich.
What Is Unregistered Design Right ?
UK Unregistered Design Right (UDR) is similar to copyright. The very act of creating the design automatically ensures protection for 15 years. There is no fee for this protection, but it would be hard to enforce for fashion designers.
If requested by a third party, the designer must grant a copyright license. If the terms are not agreed between the two parties, then the UK Intellectual Property Office will determine the royalties to be paid. The design right cannot be used to prevent copyright, but can be used to generate royalties.
Fashion Design Protection.
In reality all fashion designers use other designers ideas all the time, whether intentionally or by accident. Most designers spend much of their time either travelling round the world, or on the internet searching for ideas to use.
They buy up hundreds of garments, and get their pattern cutters to copy them, making a few changes here or there. If you come up with a good idea, it is virtually impossible to stop it being copied, unless it is very original and unique
What Is Intellectual Property ?
Intellectual property is a general term that refers to all types of protection of ideas : copyright; trade marks; patents; designs; etc.
Intellectual property law can assign you the rights to anything that you have created, such as music, art, inventions, and logos.
Developing Your Idea.
In order to be able to obtain a patent, your idea must be credible. Before seeking the advice of a patent lawyer it is advisable to ensure that you have developed your idea to a reasonably advanced level.
It doesnt have to be the finished product, as long as you have tested the basic idea. Otherwise you may find that you are having to pay multiple times for your patent lawyers work.
Thats where we come in. We support and encourage clients looking to profit from their new product ideas. We would be happy to review your ideas and to offer our own suggestions for improvements.
We dont offer a full patenting service, or legal advice. But we do help you to fully develop your ideas before and after patenting.
What We Do.
At The London Pattern Cutter we have worked for hundreds of startup clothing labels, and are extremely experienced in all sorts of sportswear and functional wear.
With our wide range of skills and knowledge, we can help to develop your product, and suggest ways of improving it by suggesting different construction methods or fabrics. We can advise you on how to start a clothing business, and how to source fabrics and trims.
We provide Startup Workshops for new clothing business entrepreneurs.
Non Disclosure Agreements.
In order to fully protect your idea, you may want to consider using a Non Disclosure Agreement ( NDA ), or a Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) . While they are essentially the same thing, and can be used interchangeably, they can be used in slightly different circumstances.
They are both legally binding documents that protect your idea. A confidentiality agreement is used when you need a higher degree of secrecy, but in most circumstances, either will provide the same protection.
What Is A Patent Attorney ?
A patent attorney is a specialised legal professional who can advise on pants and intellectual property rights. They may work in-house, or be self employed.
Utility Patent Vs Design Patent.
A Utility Patent is a patent for invention, while a Design Patent is for the look and design of a product.
What Is Patent Pending ?
A patent pending is when a patent has been applied for, but not yet granted.
World Wide Patent.
A patent only applies to the country in which the patent was registered. You can however, file a single application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for protection in 140 countries around the world.
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