Many art forms and cultural industries have some form of regulations and protection for artists and creators. Fashion, however, is an industry where copyright and trademarks is not as clearly defined, hence the proliferation of knock offs and copy-cat lines from Couture houses to discount stores.
In 2008 Christian Louboutin registered a trademark for shoes with red soles. Recently, fashion house Yves St Laurent started selling also selling shoes with red soles. Believing that their trademark prevented this type of conduct Christian Louboutin launched a lawsuit in New York against YSL for trademark infringement and sought an injunction prohibiting YSL from continuing to sell their red-soled shoes.
The question before the court was whether or or not the red-soled shoes served a fashion function or was a legitimate trademark?
The verdict? The court ruled that in the fashion industry, color serves ornamental and aesthetic functions which cannot be trademarked.
YSL may continue to sell their shoes; fashion and intellectual property will continue to be an unsettled area of the law.
Canadian artist Douglas Coupland is probably best known for his written work, such as Generation X and J Pod. As a true artist, however, he is hardly limited to the written word and in fact began his career as a visual artist.
In recent years Coupland has created a number of public art pieces such as a clock tower at Don Mills shopping centre, Canoe Landing Park and ‘Monument to the War of 1812′ (both in Toronto). His latest public art piece is called Group Portrait 1957 and will be permanently displayed at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa. On Saturday, September 24, Coupland will attend the unveiling and speak about the importance of public art.
Coupland proposed the piece as being ”a work that reflects the Gallery’s curatorial mandate to transmit forward to future generations the work and ideas of its collection, specifically the work of Painters Eleven.”