Copies, Competition and the Condititons of Creativity. Law and Fashion in Europe (195

Copying or derivative reworking of fashion is a huge business. Fashion is at the intersection of all fields of intellectual property rights: design, trade marks, patent and copyright. Nonetheless fashion designers often seem reluctant to take legal measures against copiers. The reasons can be manifold: focus is on trade mark protection, design protection is too slow in a business where new designs appear at least four times a year, design protection legislation is weaker than other intellectual property law and there may be other ways of protection than “hard law”. One explanation that has been debated recently is the “piracy paradox”, the fact that piracy may not deter innovation but, to the contrary, fashion designers may actually benefit from it as piracy speeds up the fashion cycle. In this project design rights and trade mark protection will be discussed in the wider context of intellectual property law, as well as in a context of a number of Swedish, Italian and French fashion companies’ intellectual property ideologies and strategies. A theoretical starting point is the many paradoxes in the intellectual property rights discourse, as the necessity of a change of ideas for creativity vs. the need to protect one’s innovations from being exploited by other people, the creative/innovative individual vs. “corporate culture”, and the nation states’ interest in creating a favourable climate for creativity and innovation vs. protection of the nation state against an increasingly unbounded global economy.

Participants at Uppsala University:

Marianne Dahlén

Selection of publications:


Ridderstads stiftelse

Contact persons:

Marianne Dahlén, Juridiska institutionen, Box 512, 751 20 Uppsala, Phone +46 18 471 7994.


Seminars will take place in Ekonomikum, room K425, 1315-1500

29 August

Margrit Müller, Universität Zürich. "The impact of multinationalization on the firms, their home economy and the host countries. The case of Switzerland during the 20th century"

12 September

Amanda Scardamaglia, Swinburne Law School, Melbourne. Presentation of research project on  "Colonial trademarks".