NEW YORK — U.S. designers received a different kind of legal aid this weekend when the American Bar Association’s section of intellectual property law backed stronger federal copyright legislation for fashion designs.

The section gathered during the ABA’s annual meeting in New York to take up competing resolutions on the matter and eventually passed an endorsement of the Design Piracy Prohibition Act or similar legislation.

The adopted Resolution 2008 Council-1A reads, in part, “…believing that there is sufficient need for greater intellectual property protection than is now available for fashion designs, [the section] supports, in principle, enactment of federal legislation to provide a new limited copyright-like protection for such designs….”

A competing resolution that opposed such legislation was sent back to committee.

“It’s great to have the support of a prominent legal organization. It’s one of the many things that will help pass this legislation next year,” said Steven Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Kolb said the CFDA would be working harder and faster to get legislation passed following the presidential election in November. The Design Piracy Prohibition Act, introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R. - Va.) in 2006, would amend current federal copyright law to allow designers to register their works for three years’ protection. Opponents of the bill have argued that it could inhibit creativity and fuel petty litigation.

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