I visit about 4-5 outdoor specific trade shows every year, and the most common issue complained of is intellectual property protection for apparel. Generally, protection for apparel is hard to come by, but there are certain protections available. In this instance, patent protection was appropriate because the Volcom powder skirt system, displayed in the image above, incorporates specific technology into the clothing. The patents can be viewed here and here. However, getting a patent is nice, but you still need to enforce it. It’s like building a fence around your backyard, but you still have to kick squatters out if they jump it. If you don’t enforce your patent, over time your ability to keep people off your turf can be diminished. With this particular patent, it looks like Volcom wasn’t going to sit by while Holden incorporated technology into their apparel which Volcom believed copied their patented technology. The complaint can be viewed here.
Not Skirting This Issue - Patent Protection for Apparel