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Fashion is a big, creative industry which is responsible for sales of almost $200 billion in the United States. While the United States provides good protection through its intellectual property law for works such as books, movies and music, it offers only little protection for fashion designs.
Fashion designs in the United States can be easily copied, this concept of copying someone else’s fashion design is known as ‘style piracy’. There are people who think that the lacking system of protection for fashion designs is actually beneficial, this is called the ‘piracy paradox’.
Opponents of this piracy paradox argue that style piracy destroys the incentives to create and thereby diminishes innovation. This master thesis will discuss the debate between the supporters and opponents of the ‘low IP-equilibrium’ for fashion designs in the United States.
Through a comparative study it will enable the reader to understand the current framework of protection for fashion designs in the United States and the way in which it differs with the European framework. The main focus of this master thesis is to show in what way the United States lacks sufficient protection for fashion designs and whether this protection should be strengthened.