Fordham Law

Fashion Law Institute Welcomes Chinese Judges at Roundtable Event

September 27, 2011

The Fashion Law Institute held a roundtable discussion on trademark and fashion design with a delegation of judges from China's highest court, the Supreme People's Court, in attendance as special guests.

Senior Judge Xia Junli, chief judge of the court's intellectual property division, gave opening remarks before two panels were convened to examine counterfeiting in the fashion industry and design legislation. 

The first panel, "Bricks and Clicks: Counterfeiting in the Real World and Online," focused on China's online presence in the commercial marketplace. Robin Gruber of French fashion house Chanel and David Silver of MarkMonitor, a brand protection company, described how their respective companies deal with the legal structures of Chinese websites.

The second panel, "On the Cutting Edge: Intellectual Property and Fashion Design," saw Professor Susan Scafidi, Academic Director of the Fashion Law Institute, discussing fashion legislation in the United States and around the globe. Fellow panelist Joseph Nauman of the golfing apparel company Acushnet talked about how his business has been able to use design patents to help protect its brand.

The visit from the Chinese judges was part of a general study tour organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global IP Center.

"China is such an important jurisdiction right now in terms of design legislation and protection," said Scafidi. "Its laws are evolving to address challenges within the fashion industry, such as counterfeiting. The question really is one of enforcement."

In closing remarks, Judge Xia expressed her interest in the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, a Congressional bill to which Professor Scafidi has contributed that would extend protection to original fashion designs.

"I hope this law passes here, so we can come back and study it," she said.