An interesting article from Retail Gazette shows some of the more unexpected brand collaborations that have happened recently. A newsworthy diversification is potentially a good profile-raiser for both parties - and I know at least one of my colleagues made a special trip to Primark in search of the limited-edition Greggs range.

All four of the collaborations featured in this article have a fashion angle to them. Sometimes, as with the Selfridges example, both retailers are already in the fashion sector, and it's the price point and customer base which differs. But fashion is often the first port of call for other retailers - such as Greggs - wanting to promote their business in new ways or capitalise on their existing reputation. On the other hand, retailers who started out in fashion will frequently expand into beauty and/or homewares. 

From the IP perspective, these collaborations involve legal work behind the scenes, in order to make sure the brands can be used without dispute in relation to new goods and services. The more unusual the combination, the more important this becomes. A brand can be established (for example) in the food and drink sector, but that doesn't automatically give the owner the right to use the same mark on clothing. If the collaboration has longevity, retailers should be thinking about registering their trade mark for the new product lines. Before you launch that new collection of T-shirts or tea towels, it's always safest to get some advice from a chartered trade mark attorney.

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