Food Maker’s Mark: Intellectual Property and Your Food Business
You’ve spent precious time developing your product, and it shows. What you’ve built is special and unique, so it might be time to protect it using intellectual property laws. There are numerous types of intellectual property protections, such as trademarks, that can protect your food creation from fraud. They also protect your consumers from being misled by your competitors, and they can keep you from being accused of infringement. However, without a legal degree it can be difficult to understand what the right choice might be for your business.
Types of Intellectual Property
Patent? Copyright? How is anyone supposed to know what any of these terms mean in legal-ese? This helpful blog post from the folks at Pilotworks provides a great introduction to some types of intellectual property that will be relevant to your food & beverage business. So don’t miss it if you need a refresher!
Intellectual Property Misconceptions
Many food entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that their recipe can easily be legally protected. However, recipes are not subject to trademark like other aspects of food & beverage branding. Luckily, there is a special kind of intellectual property that can be applied to recipes and formulas: the Trade Secret. Find More on that here, directly from the source: the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The process is lengthy, so it’s likely overkill for many small food businesses. However, keep it in mind as you grow!
How to Trademark
The trademark is the most common form of intellectual property for the small food business. If you’re ready to employ it, we found this hugely helpful guide from Morsel Law with step-by-step instructions. Don’t be intimidated by legal speak or bureaucratic institutions. You’ve got an amazing, unique brand, so it’s time to protect it!
You’ve made a product and built a brand that you’re proud of. Protect them with a trademark, copyright or trade secret to show that you’re ready to make your mark.