15 November 2018

Exploring IP in the food and drink industry: a four-part miniseries

The food and drink industry is jam-packed full of ideas, innovation, research, development and most importantly – intellectual property. Ahead of attending Food Matters Live and sponsoring Food Tech Matters this year, individuals from our food and beverage team have drafted a four-part miniseries which explores IP in the food industry, the types of protection available, and benefits to your business.

1. The missing ingredient: why the food industry needs to protect its intellectual property

Beyond trade marks, protectable intellectual property is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when one has developed a new food or beverage product. Why is this the case, especially when so many other industries have readily adopted and employed IP protection to their commercial advantage?

Author: David Hobson  |  [email protected]

2. Ripe for the taking: why brand protection is key in the food industry

The food and drink sector was arguably the first sector to recognise the importance of brand protection: the very first UK trade mark application was filed in relation to beers – the Bass triangle back in 18766. Since then, this competitive and innovative industry appears to have really grasped the importance of packaging, get-up and branding. Building a successful and recognised brand can be challenging and many companies often invest heavily in the initial brand creation, development and promotion before realising that legally they cannot use that branding without facing court action. How can companies avoid this?

Author: Laura West  |  [email protected] 

3. Food for thought: how patents can help businesses within the food and drink industry

The search for a competitive edge in this industry has led companies to invest heavily in research and innovation in order to produce the requisite taste, mouthfeel, appearance and nutritional value to attract potential customers whilst simultaneously reducing production costs. There is also the added pressure to keep abreast of (or stimulate) the latest consumer trends, such as the rise in vegetarianism, veganism, interesting new alcohol-free drinks, healthier versions of comfort food, the use of AI within the food industry, as well as meeting the requirements of new governmental policies.

Producing food and drink products which meet of all these requirements can provide companies with a competitive advantage however the question remains: how can this advantage be maintained and how do companies prevent competitors reaping the rewards from their research and investment?

Author: Laura Clews  |  [email protected] 

4. Ensuring you don’t bite off more than you can chew: navigating third-party intellectual property rights

Protecting intellectual property by way of patents and registered design rights is currently under-exploited in the food industry. However, there are certainly a few businesses building broad IP portfolios encompassing numerous aspects of their operations, such as the food products and recipes themselves, factory machinery, and even food packaging. Other articles have explored the benefits of protecting your IP – but what about the IP of others?  How can you minimise the risk of a competitor preventing you bringing your product to market? 

Authors: David HobsonLionel Newton  |  [email protected] & [email protected]

From chemistry, composition and ingredients to trade marks, packaging, patents and designs – we have the expertise to help identify, protect and commercialise your IP. Call 0207 830 0000 to talk to a member of the team. To read more about our work in the food and beverage sector, please click here.