Until recently, "fashion law" was not recognized as a distinct field. Charles has been active in the effort to ensure that fashion law, like art and music law, is adequately studied and is practiced with attention to the nuances of the apparel and beauty industries. To that end, Charles successfully sponsored the creation of a Fashion Law Committee at the New York City Bar Association. He also served as Co-Chair of the Fashion Design Legislation Subcommittee at the American Bar Association from 2010 to 2013. In 2011 and 2012, Charles served as a guest lecturer at Parsons, The New School for Design; in Spring 2013, he co-taught a course at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, "International Business Strategies and Fashion Law." In January 2014, Charles took on the role of Adjunct Professor in NYU's Costume Studies M.A. Program, for which he designed a new course on the history and theory of dress.
Charles has contributed chapters on intellectual property law to the two leading books in the fashion law field, West/Aspatore's Navigating Fashion Law: Leading Lawyers on Exploring the Trends, Cases, and Strategies of Fashion Law (Aspatore 2012) and the forthcoming second edition of Fairchild's Fashion Law: A Guide for Designers, Fashion Executives, and Attorneys. He is currently putting the finishing touches on a monograph tentatively titled Fashion and Copyright (Lexis/Matthew Bender, forthcoming).
Through the above experiences and his representation of designers, labels, retailers, publications, and other individuals and corporations in the industry, Charles has become well acquainted with numerous legal issues facing the fashion community:
- The spotty, but sometimes effective (and even potentially hazardous) copyrightability of certain elements of apparel
- Strategic selection of trademarks, slogans, and branding strategies, both for individuals/entities and for specific products
- The importance of promptly obtaining/registering and maintaining strong intellectual property protection for one's trademarks, trade dress, and creative assets, both in the U.S. and abroad; of expanding one's brand recognition, reach, and revenue through careful licensing; and of policing one's IP rights in a reasonable and ethical manner
- For "name"-based designers, the importance of structuring transactions so that they can continue to use their name in the event of corporate restructuring; conversely, developing and executing strategies for designers who have lost the title to their trademarks
- Defending against the rising number of legally baseless IP claims levied at companies and individuals