Elaine O’Hare, senior associate at law firm Stevens & Bolton LLP, explains how brands can shout about sustainability innovations while still protecting their intellectual property.

Fast fashion’s terrible reputation for ‘sustainability’ means there is ever-increasing pressure on brands to create, innovate and invest in new technologies which make use of responsibly sourced materials and less damaging manufacturing methods.

When they come up with successful ideas, brands rightly want to shout about them from the rooftops to boost their green credentials. However, they may be less inclined to shout about the detail of the innovations behind the headlines.

It’s hard to blame them. After all, those details could compromise patentable inventions or valuable trade secrets. This is an industry which has seen brands turn to the courts to protect confidential information about materials and manufacturing after employees leave to join – or set up – competitors.

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