ELZABURU has had the pleasure of working together with the publisher Thomson-Reuters Aranzadi on Fashion Law, a pioneering work in Spain on the subject of fashion law, which was presented on 16 April.

In these short weekly summaries, the professionals at ELZABURU who participated in the work offer us a brief outline of their contributions:

Counterfeiting in the fashion sector

For some years now we have been witness to the ongoing integration of national economies (Spain’s included) into a single global economy. The many opportunities this opens up to producers, companies, and consumers often go hand in hand with the market’s flexibility being turned to the advantage of international criminal gangs to place illicit goods in far-away destinations.

The broad extent of crimes against intellectual property in Spain is due, in no small part, to the mild penalties these activities have traditionally elicited and to a widespread lack of awareness both by society as a whole and even by judicial authorities.

Like other production and consumption sectors, the fashion industry too has not been spared the scourge of counterfeiting.

One fashion counterfeiting statistic of great concern is that in 2015, 46 % of all goods detained by Customs in the EU were fashion-related items, more specifically, athletic shoes, handbags, purses, watches, and clothing.

In 2016 Spanish police forces seized nearly 800,000 fashion-related articles in Spain, namely, footwear, jewellery, watches, leather goods, accessories, perfumery, cosmetics, and textile goods.

Online selling has opened up to the fashion industry both a new distribution channel and a way to attract consumers, but counterfeiters have put the anonymity offered by the web, the vast numbers of potential buyers, and the multinational nature of the Internet to good use in running their criminal businesses.

A quick Internet search on “fake bags” plus the name of any luxury brand returns hundreds of thousands of hits.

This attests to the vast tendrils of counterfeiting that have broadly infiltrated fashion e-commerce, certainly posing a challenge to law enforcement and to protecting the rights of brand-owners, who bear the actual brunt of the economic impact in the form of, for instance, reduced earnings, fewer jobs, and damage to brand image and reputation.

Still, it is not all bad news in this sector. A series of reforms to the law in Spain have ushered in significant changes in the definition of offences against intellectual property that will have a positive effect on the fight against counterfeiting.

The main example of recent changes to the law is the long-awaited scaling of penalties to the severity of the conduct carried out by infringers (importing, wholesaling, street vending, etc.), which opens up the possibility of dealing with offences against industrial property more fairly and more proportionately.

Author: Tránsito Ruiz 

Visit our website: http://www.elzaburu.es/en

Blog entries in the series Fashion Law:

1.Trademark protection in the fashion sector (23.04.2018)

2.Design protection in the fashion sector (30.04.2018)

3.Patent protection in the fashion sector (07.05.2018)

4.Protection of fashion through copyright (21.05.2018)

5. Image rights in the fashion sector (28.05.2018)

6.Fashion Law. Data Fashion (04.06.2018)

7.Counterfeiting in the fashion sector (11.06.2018)

8.Exhaustion of rights in the fashion sector (18.06.2018)

9.Corporate reputation in the fashion sector (25.06.2018)

10. Protection of the commercial imagen of a fashion brand (04.07.2018)

11. Websites, Apps & Social Networks (13.07.2018)

12. Valuation of intangible assets (17.07.2018)

13. Licensing (06.09.2018)