Rohit Bal copyrights new cockerel motif, sparks debate on intellectual property in fashion
Rohit Bal unveiled his new signature design at India Couture Week (ICW) and, when he proceeded to copyright it, a debate over intellectual property law in India began.
India Couture Week (ICW) took place last week and Rohit Bal exhibited his latest couture collection on the opening night of the event. Bal’s runway show featured a rooster motif embroidered in gold on some of his menswear designs. The jacket that Bal himself wore at the finale also featured an embroidered golden cockerel. Bal has gone on to share the image of his new signature design on Facebook and has launched it as his new logo.
Bal recently copyrighted his cockerel design and Raghavendra Rathore who walked for Bal on the runway this season and has his own fashion label stated, “His initiative to bring awareness to the issue of plagiarism will do the industry a lot of good, especially for the younger generation of designers.” Rathore also stated that he himself had also copyrighted certain “bandhgala” designs from his label.
Others designers have also weighed into the discussion and the belief, almost unanimously, is that intellectual property laws are not sufficient or well-enforced in India. However, Raw Mango brand’s Sanjay Garg stated that, “patent isn’t an absolute answer” because, even though he had patented his brocade lehenga, he still saw copies afterwards and nothing was done about it. Moreover, designer Tarun Tahiliani opined that there was no value for intellectual property rights in India. The trend for copyrighting fashion designs is growing but it seems that this may not completely solve the problem of design theft in India.
Rohit Bal graduated from St Stephens College, New Delhi, and has won a number of awards for his designs. Some of these include the “Designer of the Year” award at both the Indian Fashion Awards in 2006 and the Kingfisher Fashion Achievement awards in 2001.
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