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Cutting too Close? Design Protection and Innovation in Fashion Goods


  • Petal Jean Hackett


Continued lobbying by high-end, American designers for intellectual property-type fashion design protection has culminated in the proposed Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, intended to introduce EU standards. Using a sequential, 2-firm, vertical differentiation framework, we analyze the effects of protection on investment in innovative designs by high-quality (‘designer’) and lower-quality (‘mass-market’) firms when the mass-marketer may opt to imitate, consumers prefer trendsetting designs and firms compete in prices. We show that design protection, by transforming mass-marketers from imitators to innovators, may reduce both designer profits and welfare. The model provides possible explanations for the dearth of EU case law and the increase in designer/mass-marketer collaborations.

Suggested Citation

  • Petal Jean Hackett, 2012. "Cutting too Close? Design Protection and Innovation in Fashion Goods," CESifo Working Paper Series 3716, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3716

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    intellectual property rights; fashion design protection; imitation; licensing;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital


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