In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) truck diver Hours of Services ("HOS") rule that regulates the amount of time commercial truck drivers can operate their vehicles (Owner-Operator v. FMCSA, 494 F.3d 188 (D.C. Cir. 2007)).  The current HOS rules, which were adopted in October 2005, provide for a daily driving limit of eleven hours followed by a ten hour rest period.  Also, pursuant to the current rules, truck drivers may restart their weekly count of hours after they have taken a break of thirty-four hours.  In its decision, the court reduced the maximum driving time to ten hours a day followed by an eight hour rest period and vacated the thirty-four hour restart provision in order to ensure highway safety and protect driver health.

Continue Reading New Trucking Rules Could Make Goods Fashionably Late

Congress gave final approval to legislation that requires stricter screening of sea cargo containers bound for the U.S. at foreign ports.  The bill will implement many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to strengthen national security and help to prevent terrorist attacks (click here for full text of this bill).  The bill has been opposed by large U.S. importers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Apparel and Footwear Association, which pointed out that the cargo screening requirement will do little to increase security, is impractical and could have negative impacts on global trade and the U.S. economy.

Continue Reading New Cargo Screening Requirement Could Import High Costs To Fashion And Apparel Industry

On June 1, 2007, the controversial new EU Regulation for the Registration, Evaluation and Restriction on Chemicals (“REACH”) came into force to regulate the use of chemicals in consumer products, including apparel, fragrances and cosmetics.  The regulation’s most important goals are to improve the protection of human health and the environment while enhancing the innovative capability of the EU chemicals industry.  Although European companies will be primarily hit by this regulation, US manufacturers exporting in the EU market must be in compliance as well.

Continue Reading New EU Chemicals Regulation Could Peel Away Fashion and Cosmetic Industry Profits

On August 2, 2007, Senator Orrin Hatch announced S. 1957, a bill intended to provide protection for fashion designs.  In his comments introducing the draft legislation, Senator Hatch noted that the goal of the legislation "is to ensure that those who spend their time and money developing new and innovative fashion designs are able to secure and enforce adequate copyright protections for their hard work."  Senator Hatch noted while introducing S. 1957 that the current bill is "not perfect" and that "some areas of the bill that need to be improved are: the standard for liability, the definition of designs in the public domain, and the secondary liability provisions."  Co-sponsored by Senators Clinton, Feinstein and Schumer, among others, the bill is the latest rendition of the proposed Design Piracy Prohibition Act which was twice previously introduced in the House by Representatives Goodlatte and Delahunt as H.R. 5055 (109th Congress, 2d Session) and H.R. 2033 (110th Congress, 1st Session).  Although not yet available, S. 1957 is reported to mirror the content of the prior bills which are available at: and

Continue Reading Senate Goes Fashion Forward With Latest Version of Design Piracy Prohibition Act

Under U.S. Copyright law, copyright protection generally does not extend to fashion designs, such as the dimensions, style, cut or shape of a fashion item like clothing.  However, original patterns or images that are imprinted or stitched on fabric are protected by copyright.  A recent bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would change this statutory framework. The bill, H.R. 5055, aims to modify the U.S. Copyright Act to cover fashion designs.  If implemented, H.R. 5055 would extend copyright protection to clothing (including undergarments, outerwear, gloves, footwear, and headgear); handbags, purses, and tote bags; belts; and eyeglass frames.  Protection would extend to the appearance of the article of apparel as a whole, including any ornamental elements of the article.

Continue Reading H.R. 5055: A (Possible) Statutory Framework for Protecting Fashion Designs Under U.S. Copyright Law