A Vogue Idea: The theme of “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” at the 2016 Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute gala was taken rather literally on the red carpet. Model Karolina Kurkova’s whimsical look was created by the design duo Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa and powered by tech company IBM. For every tweet that hashtagged #CognitiveDress, IBM’s cognitive computing technology—IBM Watson—broke down the emotion or sentiment behind it (which was assigned a color), and lit up the LED lights embedded in the 3-D flowers embroidered in the dress.

From bionic hands, to doctors using Google Glass, to the Apple Watch and Fitbit, wearable technology is a thriving and growing industry that could be worth $34 billion by 2020. It promises to revolutionize marketing, retail, fitness and medicine. However the wearables market—everything from bracelets, rings, glasses, clothing and bags that use high tech—can trigger a host of potential ethical and legal concerns.

Continuing to build on its past success, the 2017 Fashion Law Seminar held at The New School in New York City on Feb. 10 will feature an impressive lineup of attorneys and judges discussing the advancement of fashion law in today’s globalization world. Take advantage of early bird registration rates as well as competitive student and observation only rates to explore the digitalization of fashion at www.fedbar.org/FashionLaw17.

Internet of Things: To wearable or not to wearable, that is the question. The latest fitness, wellness, healthcare and entertainment devices raise a broad range of intellectual property protection and data safety and privacy issues, including identity theft, profiling, discrimination and stalking.

Are current patent laws and policies in concert with emerging technologies? Many wearable technology products involve software that is not patentable. Similarly, challenging questions arise about the operation of trademarks, chiefly, how to handle competing marks in different jurisdictions and trademark enforcement in the ever-expanding domain name system.

Tech Support: The Federal Bar Association’s Fashion Law Seminar panel “Game Changer: The Marriage of Wearable Technology and the Fashion Industry” will provide an in-depth discussion of unique legal issues pertaining to wearable technology, from privacy considerations to global trade compliance.  Speakers include moderator Maria Z. Vathis (Bryan Cave LLP), Louise Bohmann (Global Trade Compliance Manager at Google), Adam Kardash (Partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP), Mason Weisz (ZwillGen PLLC), Barbara Sondag (Senior Vice President, Head of Privacy, Westfield Corp.) and Kenya N. Wiley (Founder and CEO of Fashion Innovation Alliance).

Wearable technology must balance the enormous potential of wearable devices with a labyrinth of federal and state regulation. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as well as some states issued rules governing the use and protection of customer data. At the federal level, companies that track, store and share users’ health information with healthcare providers such as doctors, hospitals and certain third party vendors must be aware of HIPAA—the pivotal regulations on health care data and privacy. Some companies who have neglected to implement “commonly-used” and “readily available” data security measures to safeguard consumer data, such as firewalls, password protection and data encryption have been subject to fines. FBA panelists will examine the laws about informing consumers on how data collected through such retail healthcare apps and other wearable technology is being used by the app developer and other third parties. Visit www.fedbar.org/fashionlaw17 and register today to take advantage of early bird rates!


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.