Former Model Earns Summer Fashion Law Internship in Italy

Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Italy for a Fashion Law Internship

Clare Shin, a former model with an undergraduate and master’s degree in literature, is studying to become an intellectual property lawyer with a focus on the fashion and entertainment industries. 

After finishing her 1L year at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Shin is spending the summer in Florence, Italy, the perfect setting for her dream internship at Spheriens, a law firm with offices in Florence, Rome, Milan and New York that specializes in intellectual property with a particular focus in luxury goods.

“This internship is a great opportunity for me, blending my previous work as a model and my upcoming career in law,” said Shin. “Italy is the home to so many of the biggest names in fashion, so it is exciting to be at the epicenter of the industry.”

At the start of the internship, Shin learned about the Italian trademark process and how fashion clients look for intellectual property protection in Italy and in the European Union. From there, the majority of her work focused on opposition filings, where the client was filing a criminal or civil lawsuit to the infringer.

“Learning about the different classes of trademarks as well as the Italian court system, Spheriens taught me how to search up existing trademarks, conduct research and find evidence for my cases,” said Shin. “It’s exciting to work with major fashion brands and aid in the research and enforcement of their intellectual property.”

Her internship opportunity came about from networking while writing a fashion law article for the IÉSEG School of Management in Paris, which signed a partnership agreement with CWRU Law last year to engage in staff exchanges, training, publication and research between the two schools.

In “The Future of Fashion Law in America: Copyright as the Key to Creativity,” Shin examined the impact and consequences of the 2017 Supreme Court Case, Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc. In her conclusion, she wrote, “Trademark and patent alone are not enough to provide brands and designers protection from copies. However, the current copyright system and process are incompatible with today’s fashion industry. Star Athletica gives copyright a chance to participate in the fashion industry by allowing designs that can be separated from the original, useful article to be copyrighted if it can be considered as an artwork in and of itself.”

 “Working jointly with the faculty at IÉSEG and Case Western on my article connected me with a great opportunity to engage with and analyze the central legal issues facing this industry,” said Shin. “Throughout the process of planning and writing the article, our faculty were very helpful in guiding my thought process. To have this become a springboard to get this internship has been a truly fulfilling experience.”

Shin’s article is set to be published by the Giuffré later this year in the book, Trademarks and Fashion: A First Survey in Different Parts of the World.