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I have previously written about professional uniforms that are being copied, such as ambulance uniforms. I also covered police uniforms being worn as costumes for fancy dress parties and how this is not allowed. Wearing original uniforms when you do not perform the corresponding function is punishable. The same goes for the counterfeiting of uniforms.
Uniforms depicted in children’s clothing: is that allowed?
But you also have children’s clothing that is inspired by uniforms worn by the ambulance, police, or fire brigade. These are readily available in online children’s and baby clothing webshops. Besides fancy dress costumes, you can find pajamas or rompers with well-known logos, names, and stripes on them. As soon as the relevant professional group changes their uniform, the children’s clothing is also adjusted.
But is this allowed? And if so, what makes this different? According to lawyer Charlotte Meindersma, who specializes in image law, in this case, you are dealing with various European laws.
“First, you have the trademark law. You violate this when there is a question of deception. When the original can no longer be distinguished from the counterfeit. You may not wear this clothing, not even during carnival. This is not the case with children. A child cannot mislead with a uniform because a child cannot perform that profession.You also have to deal with copyright. You cannot just copy something from someone else. But that does not mean that you are only in violation when you make an exact copy. Even if only certain lines or colors deviate from the original, there may still be copyright infringement. ”
Limits on counterfeit clothing
When I look at photos of the children’s clothes that I come across on the internet, the majority seem to be inspired by the Dutch uniforms. It is not an exact counterfeit. To be on the safe side, I show Meindersma a set of clothes, that of the ambulance service. I also show her a photo of the original (Dutch) uniform.
She confirms the idea I already had; this is indeed a design inspired by an ambulance. This is not counterfeit clothing where the copyright has been infringed.
As a parent, you have nothing to fear. Not even when there is a copyright infringement. Meindersma emphasizes that the wearer cannot be punished, but the manufacturer can.
So if you are in a uniformed profession and want a mini-me, or if your child aspires to a profession with a uniform; knock yourself out. Maybe one day he or she will be our next hero 🙂