Fashion designers face multiple challenges, not the least of which are patent protection matters. Design patents are invaluable tools for protecting innovation. When a design patent is granted, the patent affords the patent holder the right to prevent others from making, using, selling, or copying product that contain those designs. As a result, a unique look of a product, including shoes, clothing, and handbags can be protected for a period.

How can you protect your brand through the strategic use of patents? Additionally, while women contribute to all fields of creativity and intellectual endeavor, do their achievements receive the same patent protection as men? The case for diversity in patent protection has become even more compelling and important to study. Join the Federal Bar Association on February 8, 2019 in New York City at the Fashion Law Conference for a discussion on design patents and diversity. Register today at

Olivera Medenica (Partner, Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller LLP) will moderate the panel “Design Patents: A Discussion in Diversity.” Speakers Christopher J. Buccafusco (Professor of Law, Director, Intellectual Property & Information Law Program, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Cardozo School of Law) and Jeanne Curtis (Professor of Law, Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor, Director of the Cardozo-Google Program for Patent Diversity, Cardozo School of Law) will explore whether certain aspects of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s eligibility rules are unnecessary when applied to design patents where prosecution of such patents does not require a technical background and the rules have a disparate impact on the number of women who can prosecute them.

Recent studies show that there is a great disparity in the number of U.S. patents issued to women as compared with the total number of issued U.S. patents. What is the cause of that disparity? What is the impact of a gender-based variation in patent prosecution? What steps can brands and lawyers take to support female fashion inventors and reduce bias in the patenting approval process? What proactive measures should be put in place to minimize the chance of bias in patent filing decisions? These are some of the questions that our esteemed panelists will seek to answer.

The panel shall discuss the scope of of design patents; identify the distinction of the protections found in design patents; infringement vulnerabilities for designers; and what strategies should counsel employ to enforce intellectual property rights in the fashion industry.

Increasing female involvement in the patent process can benefit female inventors as well as the world at large. There must be equity in innovation. The Fashion Law Conference will explore the timely and important topic of gender diversity in patent law as numerous studies have noted that women continue to be underrepresented in patent-heavy fields and in patent-focused roles like development and design. Join the Federal Bar Association for a high-energy conference focused on the advancement of fashion law in today’s globalizing world. Sign up today at

Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.