The designs embossed or imprinted on textiles or fabrics are entitled to protection under the Copyright Act. However, the style, shape, or pattern of the finished garment itself is not copyrightable. In addition, clothes are considered to be useful articles, and are not copyrightable.
For example, a fabric designer’s arrangement of “Folio Roses” in a fabric design pattern was held to be copyrightable. This was because the designer had prepared the arrangement by cutting out photocopies of a rose, pasting them over a background, and photocopying the result. This process involved an “artistic decision” making the product copyrightable.
Similarly, the choice of colors by a designer for use in a copyrighted design in a quilt was held to be protectable since it involved the designer’s other creative choices and that the process involved a trial-and-error method in choosing the colors.