Senator Chuck Schumer has introduced the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act to shield designers from having their work stolen and reproduced, the New York Times reports:
The proposed legislation provides very limited intellectual property protection to the most original design. A designer who claims that his work has been copied must show that his design provides "a unique, distinguishable, non-trivial and non-utilitarian variation over prior designs." And it must be proven by the designer that the copy is "substantially identical" to the original so as to be mistaken for it.
The Fashion Incubator has a good breakdown of the specifics, including the term of protection, explaining, "The bill covers the gamut of apparel and fashion accessories like scarves, belts, handbags etc. The period of protection is three years, commencing from the time the item is displayed publicly."
The act has the support of both the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). According to the Times, it's expected to pass this fall.