Whether you own a bar or a distillery, you manufacture alcohol or you market it, it is critical that you understand the risks you’re taking if you aren’t actively protecting your company’s intellectual property. The beer, wine and spirits industries are notoriously competitive. As a result, if you don’t take steps to employ a comprehensive intellectual property strategy, you’ll place your very brand at risk.
While this warning may seem hyperbolic, it – very unfortunately – is not. Companies are forced to fold far more often than one would care to imagine simply because they did not properly protect their own intellectual rights, investigate an intellectual property asset that had already been protected or both.
To better ensure that your company does not remain unnecessarily vulnerable to infringement and/or litigation filed after your company has been accused of infringement, it’s important to start actively protecting its intellectual property interests.
Patents, trademarks, copyrights and non-disclosure agreements
Your comprehensive intellectual property strategy should take all four of the major safeguard resources into account. Copyrights will protect certain forms of original creative authorship and patents will shield your company’s privileged recipes, product designs and other novel inventions. Drafting sound non-disclosure agreements will keep employees, vendors and others from divulging your company’s trade secrets.
Even if you don’t believe that your company needs any of the first three kinds of intellectual property protection, you’ll need to formally register trademarks related to your operations. Trademarks protect the kinds of marketing resources that you use to identify and build your brand.
If you don’t formally register trademarks for your company’s name, logos, URLs, etc. a competitor could take advantage of you. They could even try to trademark your marketing so that you can’t use it. And if your intellectual property isn’t protected, there may not be much you can do to stop them.
If you haven’t yet started protecting your company’s intellectual property, do so as soon as you can. Otherwise, the notoriously competitive nature of the alcoholic beverage business could damage everything that you have worked so hard to build.