Without intellectual property rights it would be virtually impossible for the European fashion industry to continue. These rights enable a business to compete knowing that it has a legal monopoly which protects the time and money it has invested into the brand.
Although the European fashion industry by no means avoids counterfeits and close copies of their products, intellectual property rights enable businesses to protect their products and enforce these rights in all relevant territories worldwide.
The success of intellectual property enforcement varies based on strategy and budget.
It is great that you can use intellectual property to protect your brand but be careful not to infringe someone else's rights - it's easier than you might think. It is easy for designers to take inspiration a bit too literally and the line between following fashion trends and outright copying can be a very fine one.
This can be damaging in terms of legal costs, financial compensation, internal investigation and, most importantly, reputation. The public can usually forgive a one off instance but a pattern of infringement is much less forgivable and can substantially erode public trust.
The different types of intellectual property include trade marks, copyright, image rights, designs, passing off, domain names, confidential information.