The California Attorney General is aiding the efforts of U.S. fashion designers to fairly compete with overseas clothing manufacturers in China and India. While there are challenges in enforcing rights related to clothing and accessory design, the state’s attorney general identified a cause of action that would have sufficient teeth: pirated software use. The lawsuits accuse the companies (Ningbo Beyond Home Textile Co. Ltd. and Pratibha Syntex Ltd.) of software pirating violations with programs by Adobe, Microsoft, Corel and Symantec. These are common desktop software programs. By not having licensed versions of these software programs, these companies operate with significantly lower operating costs, giving them an unfair advantage over legally compliant U.S. businesses.
It is encouraging to see the government aiding in enforcement efforts. Small fashion houses often lack the financial resources to take on legal battles against overseas manufacturers. Government assistance in the battle will provide significant support to the industry, especially start-up fashion designers with trends that are easily knocked off.
I encourage fashion designers based in New York to write the New York Attorney General to make similar complaints against overseas clothing manufacturers who unfairly compete against U.S. companies by using pirated software in their operations. This is a great opportunity for public support of one of New York’s most cherished industries and art form – fashion.