Italy: Legal Protections for Fashion

Italy enacted its design law in 1868, subject to revisions, including the 1940 law, which covers ornamental designs. In its current form, copyright law in Italy provides protection for fashion designs under the umbrella of “industrial design works that have creative character or inherent artistic character.” (WIPO). In order for a design to meet this standard, Italian courts have set out the following standard. A design must include:

  1. A particular degree of creativity;
  2. Novelty;
  3. The work's objectification or externalization; and
  4. Affiliation to art or culture.” (Academia).

Like the French copyright law, Italian law provides for “non-economic (or moral) and economic rights,” with the “economic exploitation of the work lasting throughout the author’s life and until 70 years after his death” and does not require registration as a prerequisite for protection. (Id.).

Such protection has lead to litigation by designers enforcing their rights in connection with their original works. In 2008, Italian design company Blufin S.p.A, which owns Blumarine, accused an unnamed design firm based in Naples, of copying several of its designs. In her decision, Judge Gabriella Ratti ruled in Blufin’s favor, “issuing an executive order requiring the defendant to immediately and permanently halt the sale of all infringing products. Further, Ratti ordered the defendant to buy back any infringing goods that were sold to stores.” (TFL).