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."
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 the first volume of a solely authored treatise entitled Fashion and Copyright (Lexis-Nexis/Matthew Bender, forthcoming late 2013).
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 the myriad 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 a company and for individual products
- The importance of promptly obtaining/registering and preserving strong intellectual property protection for one's brand, 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 a corporate relationship deteriorates; conversely, developing and executing strategies for designers who have lost the rights to their trademarks
- Defending against the rising number of legally baseless IP claims levied at companies and individuals, particularly by larger entities toward smaller ones
- Attending to fashion-specific advertising- and First Amendment-related issues