When you’re in fashion, protecting your brand can involve several strategies to ensure that your intellectual property is safeguarded.
The fashion industry is multifaceted and always changing, resulting in a huge number of new designs each season. If you own a clothing brand, chances are you probably already know how easy it is for designs to get copied and counterfeited quickly. This makes it all the more necessary to copyright your clothing brand and protect your business.
But how does one go about doing so? Protecting a fashion brand in Malaysia actually involves several steps to ensure that your brand is legally protected. These include trademark registration, copyrights, and monitoring and enforcement of intellectual property rights among others. We delve into them below:
Copyright can protect your clothing designs, however copyright protection for fashion designs in Malaysia is limited and has to meet certain requirements. To obtain copyright protection, you must register your design/work with the Malaysian Intellectual Property Office (MyIPO). To be eligible for copyright protection, a fashion design must be original, meaning it must be the result of the author’s creative effort and not be copied from an existing design. We recommend that you keep evidence of your creation of design/work such as documenting any clothing designs or ideas on paper, dating the document and writing the name of the designer next to it.
Registering your trademark with the Malaysian Intellectual Property Office (MyIPO) gives you legal ownership of your brand name and logo. Trademarks are not the same as Copyrights. Trademarks cannot protect your actual designs, but they can protect any branding you intend to use. Examples of trademarks are such as symbols, words, or phrases used to identify and distinguish your brand from others. When you register your trademark, it provides legal protection against others from using your trademark for their products or services.
Patents are registered rights that protect inventions. For example, if you have invented a new process, material, or technology related to your fashion brand, you may be able to patent it. In relation to the fashion industry, patents could be relevant if you’re designing clothing with fabrics that have innovative technical properties, such as waterproof fabric. A patent also gives you exclusive rights to use and sell your invention for a certain period of time.
Monitor the marketplace
It is essential to your brand to monitor the marketplace for any unauthorized use of your trademark or brand name. One way to do this is through regular searches on online platforms, physical stores, and possibly even social media. If any infringement is detected, you can take legal action against the offender to protect your brand and seek compensation for any damages caused.
Protect your brand using contracts and agreements with suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors to establish your ownership of your designs and products, and ensure they understand and respect your intellectual property rights. Include provisions that require them to comply with trademark laws and prevent them from selling counterfeit goods.
Educate your customers
Educate your customers about the dangers of counterfeiting and the importance of buying only legitimate products.Tell your story about your hard work, create a strong brand awareness and establish it amongst your audience. Once your customers bond with your brand, they’re more likely to be loyal, and stay away from counterfeit goods. Loyal customers can also be helpful in monitoring the market for unauthorized use of your brand or trademarks!
Use anti-counterfeiting technologies
Consider using anti-counterfeiting technologies such as holograms, watermarks, special inks/dyes/labels or serial numbers in your products. These technologies can help deter counterfeiting and make it harder for counterfeiters to replicate your products.
Protecting a fashion brand in Malaysia requires ongoing effort, but it is crucial for maintaining the brand’s value and reputation in the market. While this is not an exhaustive list, by taking these steps, you can help protect your fashion brand in Malaysia and focus on creating your best clothing designs.
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