How Can a Lawyer Help You In Running Your Clothing Business?
Every business needs legal assistance at some point or another and the clothing industry is no exception. While clothing brands may seem like an easier venture to get into given the amount of competition and saturation in the industry, it can be challenging for new designers and fashion companies.
The stakes are high, and a single mistake can have a negative impact on your brand. Let’s suppose you are going to start a brand for ready to wear clothing so to avoid costly issues in future and safeguard your business from potential legal challenges, you need to partner with a trustworthy lawyer who understands the nuances of the fashion industry.
A good lawyer will not only help you secure patents for new designs or create contracts for new models, suppliers, and contractors but also deal with general legal matters that are essential for any company. Here are ways a lawyer can help you run your clothing company more efficiently.
Establish Fair and Reasonable Contracting Practices
When you start working with outside vendors and contractors to produce your clothing, you will want to make sure they have an appropriate contract in place to govern the relationship.
For example you start a business for men’s casual wear clothes like polo collar shirts, jeans, hoodies etc but on the first place you need a contract. These contracts govern the terms of the relationship between you and your contractors, and a good lawyer will help draft these contracts to be as fair and reasonable as possible. There are certain terms that are standard for contractual agreements in the apparel industry, such as payment terms, bonding requirements, and restrictions on disclosing confidential information.
A lawyer will be familiar with these standard terms and be able to help you draft a contract that is appropriate for your specific business and situation. Additionally, your lawyer will be able to provide insight on any issues that may arise in the process of contracting and provide recommendations for fair and reasonable resolutions.
Protect Your Brand
As you start to scale your business and expand your brand whether it’s party wear or bridal wear or any line of clothes, you may run into issues with trademark infringement or copyright infringement. A lawyer can help you avoid these issues by examining your existing designs and branding materials to ensure they are unique and original.
They will also be able to help you register your trademarks and copyrights with the US Copyright Office and Trademark Office. Once you register your trademarks and copyrights, it will be a lot more challenging for competitors to closely replicate your designs without facing legal action.
Your lawyer can also provide insight on how to respond to challenges by other brands, helping you protect your company’s reputation in the industry.
Avoid IP Infringement and Consult on New Product Development
As you start to develop new products and add new pieces to your line, you will want to make sure you are avoiding IP infringement, specifically design patent infringement. Design patents protect the way in which a product is designed and look.
They are very specific to the product and are designed for the clothing industry, unlike utility patents which cover the function of the product. Design patents can only be claimed by the person who created the design and do not extend to organizations or businesses.
A good lawyer will help you avoid design patent infringement by providing insights on how to design products that are unique and original. Additionally, they will be able to help you navigate the design patent process if you choose to pursue design patents. Consultation with a design patent lawyer will help you determine if it is feasible and cost-effective to pursue design patents for your designs and new products.
Help You Maintain a Responsible Supply Chain
A responsible supply chain is a must for every responsible clothing brand. It is important to understand where your raw materials are coming from and the environmental and health and safety practices of your suppliers. A good lawyer will be able to help you conduct due diligence on your suppliers and assist you with establishing ethical and moral contracts with them.
Ethical sourcing contracts usually encompass humane working conditions, fair wages, and safe work environments, so your suppliers are held accountable to meet these standards. Additionally, your lawyer will be able to help you create a Code of Conduct for your clothing brand.
A Code of Conduct can outline your expectations for both suppliers and employees and help you maintain a consistent level of professionalism throughout your business.
Help You Manage Staff Relationships and Employment Contracts
When you start to bring on new members of staff and manage the relationships with these employees, it is crucial that you have employment contracts in place to protect both you and the employee.
A lawyer can help you prepare employment contracts for your senior staff members, including your CEO and COO, as well as any managers and supervisors. Employment contracts are legally binding documents that outline expectations, responsibilities, benefits, and compensation for employees.
A good lawyer will be able to help you draft employment contracts that are appropriate for your specific business and situation, such as providing recommendations for what benefits to offer.
Additionally, your lawyer can help you manage the relationships with your employees by providing insight on how to have open and productive staff meetings, providing feedback to employees in a constructive way, and managing employee disputes.
Help You Run Marketing Campaigns and Events
As your company grows, you will almost certainly need assistance with running large-scale marketing campaigns. A good lawyer will be able to help you navigate any legal issues that arise during these campaigns, such as complying with any federal or state laws related to advertising and consumer protection.
For example, if you are planning on running a TV commercial, your lawyer will be able to provide insight on how to ensure the commercial is legal and follows FCC regulations. Additionally, your lawyer will be able to help you draft any contracts related to marketing, such as event sponsorships or advertising contracts.
Running a clothing company is challenging and comes with a lot of legal responsibilities. By partnering with a lawyer throughout the course of your business, you will be able to navigate these legal challenges more efficiently and avoid costly issues in the future.
A good lawyer will be able to help you secure patents for new designs or create contracts for new models, suppliers, and contractors. Additionally, they will be able to help you avoid IP infringement, manage your supply chain, manage staff relationships, and run marketing campaigns and events.