Fashion Innovation and Collaboration

March 10, 2016

Innovation happens when people work together. ideas are rarely the brainchild of one individual and this also applies to the fashion industry. While there may be a head designer, there is also the team, who contributes and realises the vision. In other cases it is better to collaborate with other brands who have a particular specialism for example print or footwear designers. On another level, fashion businesses work with others to find new ways of selling their products online providing experiences, which customers expect when walking into a shop and being served by a knowledgeable sales assistant. There are other innovations, which cannot be achieved by a designer alone such as wearable technology or sustainable materials. Fashion designers are now working with scientists and software developers to create new ways of how we will interact with our environment or administer drugs through our clothes in the future, while at the same time avoiding waste.
Such collaborations can result in highly valuable innovations, which are protected by intellectual property rights such as patents, designs or copyright, which can generate considerable income for all parties involved. It can, however, also lead to disputes where the parties have not had discussions about the value of their know-how and creative work, did not agree on how their innovations should be commercialised and income should be shared or even how they are credited for their contribution.
To avoid such pitfalls, initial (ideally confidential) negotiations with all collaborators should be followed by an appropriate written contract, which values everybody’s intellectual property, sets out in broad terms the outcomes of the collaboration, deals with ownership and commercialization of intellectual property and how contributors are paid. This is especially important where it is necessary to seek investment before bringing a new product to market.
JWSS will host an evening to discuss the legal and commercial considerations of innovation and collaboration in the fashion industry. JWSS will be joined by designers Simon Carter and Atsuko Kudo as well as industry professionals Jonathan Chippindale of Holition and Diane Elliott of BDO. The panel will be chaired by leading intellectual property barrister Mark Engelman of Hardwicke. 
The presentations and panel will explore the legal and commercial considerations of collaboration and innovation from initial discussions to finalising agreements. The evening will also focus on the value of intellectual property. 
Join us on Thursday 17th March 2016 for reception drinks from 6pm followed by presentations by the JWSS team and the panel discussion. There will be drinks following the panel discussion to continue the conversation.

Please RSVP to
James Ware Schoenfeld Stephenson LLP (JWSS) is a boutique law firm specialising in intellectual property within the creative sectors including the fashion industry.

Image: Jordi Graells - some rights reserved