Mumsy department store Debenhams is apparently trying to up its cool factor with its autumn/winter collection paying homage, ahem, to Lanvin. We’ve noticed a string of ‘get-the-look for-less’ articles applauding the striking similarities between Debenham’s fuchsia dress with a back floral print and an almost identical dress from Lanvin’s Autumn 2013 collection shown on the runway last February. While the Debenhams number is a darker shade of pink and has little capped sleeves, we have to agree, the pattern is remarkably similar!
The Debenhams version is selling for just £45 compared to the several thousand pound figure you’d need to shell out for on the Lanvin number. (Unless you are Anna Wintour, who stepped out in the dress last week and, we’re guessing, got a pretty good discount from her chum Alber.)
Image via Harvey Nichols.com
So, have Lanvin a case? We think they might. Although the dress itself is not protected by copyright law, the pattern on the dress just might be. (Copyright protects the “artistic” aspects of a product but not its functional elements. Traditionally, because clothing is functional as well as artistic, the law of copyright has not provided fashion designers the protection that artists, musicians and authors might enjoy.)
Lanvin may also have protection under unregistered design rights which gives protection to a design for a period of three years from the date it is first made public within the EU. Design is defined as “the appearance of the whole or part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation”. We think it’s pretty obvious (as do the host of ‘get-the-look-for-less’ articles’) that the Debenhams dress gives the appearance of the whole, regardless of the slight differences in shade and sleeves. What do you think? Will the Debenhams’ legal team return to a cease and desist letter after the bank holiday weekend?
Main image via Closer.com