By  on October 12, 2011

WASHINGTON — Proponents of legislation that would extend copyright protection to fashion designs for the first time just picked up a key endorsement — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of government affairs at the Chamber sent a letter Wednesday to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R, Va.), chairman of a House Judiciary subcommittee overseeing the legislation, championing the bill and calling for a full committee vote. The entire House Judiciary Committee also received copies of the letter. “There are more than 14,000 companies in the fashion and apparel industry in the U.S., directly employing approximately 4 million Americans and indirectly employing countless others“ Josten said in the letter. “IDPPPA [The Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act] offers a practical, narrowly tailored, approach to secure important yet limited intellectual property protection for truly unique, innovative, and original fashion designs. Moreover, IDPPPA would incentivize the creativity of American designers and stimulate innovation in the fashion and apparel industry, and would deter rampant counterfeiting and piracy.”

Josten also applauded lawmakers and industry groups for crafting a bill that “avoids unintended consequences” such as frivolous lawsuits or compliance burdens. The legislation was introduced in the House in July and would put teeth into copyright protection for fashion creations by providing protection for three years to “deliberate copies that are substantially identical to protected designs.” The measure represents a compromise between the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the American Apparel & Footwear Association and has bipartisan support in the House and Senate. Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) is expected to introduce the bill in the Senate this fall.

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