Lawyer Tracy Jong
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For attorneys, I know your time is valuable, and so far, Tracy and Sue are the best, most down-to-earth lawyers I have ever met. It is my pleasure paying for their advice about my businesses because I know that ultimately it will save me money in the long term.
Roy Schukraft, RJS Janitorial & Schu-Shine Inn
Restaurant, Winery and Liquor
IP For RWL
RESTAURANT, WINERY, AND
LIQUOR LICENSES AND LAW
WINERIES AND MICROBREWERIES
IP FOR RESTAURANTS, WINERIES, AND MICROBREWERIES
RESTAURANT, WINERY, AND LIQUOR LICENSE LAW INFORMATION
[IP FOR RESTAURANTS, WINERIES, AND MICROBREWERIES]
A business owner often has intellectual property that should be considered for protection. This may include a trade secret for a special recipe, a trademark for the business name, logo or motto, or a patent for a new brewing device or corkscrew design.
Wineries and microbreweries should be especially aware of the laws and regulations surrounding bottle labeling and the intellectual property they may wish to protect, particularly label design and wording.
Obtaining protection for your business’s intellectual property can help the business achieve a market edge over competitors by setting it apart and prohibiting others from exploiting its uniqueness. Removable wine labels containing information about the wine and winery, with complimentary recipe suggestions, is patented as an information transfer device.
Learn More About IP For Restaurants, Wineries, And Microbreweries:
Patents And Licenses In The RWL Industries
If you have invented an innovative tool that would be useful in the restaurant, winery or microbrewery industry, you may want to consider seeking patent protection, which would prohibit others from capitalizing on your idea. There are also design patents that could cover inventions like a new and unique bottle design. Once patented, you may want to use licensing agreements to permit certain manufacturers to produce your product for sale. The license would give you a percentage of the profits and could become a lucrative source of income.
RWL And Trademarks
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. Trademarks can also include “trade dress,” such as the packaging of your goods (e.g. bottle labeling) or restaurant design. Even unique or clever uniforms could be trademarked as trade dress. Trademarking your restaurant name, logo, motto or dress can prevent the public from confusing your restaurant with a competitor.
Once registered, trademarks cannot be used by anyone else for the same goods or services for which the trademark is registered. If they are, then the owner (“Registrant”) can take immediate action to seek damages.
Business owners should think seriously about engaging an experienced trademark attorney to perform a trademark search to determine if your mark is available for use before investing any time and money. It can be quite costly to find out too late that your mark was being used by someone else before you. Not only would you be susceptible to having to pay damages, but you would also have to go through the time-consuming and costly procedure of changing your business name and rebuilding your reputation and market.
If the mark is available for use, it would be prudent to seek trademark protections as early as possible. Your trademark attorney can help ensure you business’s recognition is protected from competitors and potential copycats.
Using A Trademark Watch Service To Protect Your Business Name
Once your trademark is approved and placed in use by your business, you may want to consider a
Trademark Watch Service
that will monitor your marks to prevent registration and use of any confusingly similar trademarks by your competitors or other business entities. Our services include a periodic review of all trademark applications in order to protect your mark and the branding of your business. Should the search come up with any pertinent results, we can consult with you on the best approach to ensure protection and enforcement of you mark.
RWL And Copyrights
Copyrights protect original works of authorship. A list of ingredients for a recipe, then, would not constitute copyrightable material. However, if the recipe contains substantial explanatory directions, or if a unique set of recipes is collected in a book, these works may be copyrighted.
One thing to consider: if your recipe contains one or more secret ingredients, you may want to think twice before applying or copyright registration because copyright applications and registered copies are public record. In this case, you would be better off seeking protection for your recipe(s) as a trade secret.
Copyrights can protect your label designs, artwork and literary elements. They can protect your website, packaging and promotional materials.
RWL And Trade Secrets
A trade secret is information (method, formula, etc.) that is not generally known to the public and protects its competitive advantage. For restaurants, wineries and microbreweries, trade secrets can be the tipping point to give the business a competitive edge. Recipes with secret ingredients, particular operation methods that have proven successful or unique manufacturing processes may all benefit from trade secret protection. Trade secrets also include business plans, recipes, vendor lists, customer lists and other valuable information that gives you a competitive edge.
Trade secret protection comes in many forms, most commonly in work-for-hire, nondisclosure, confidentiality and license agreements, but also in simple measures like password-protected documents and document-management software and other security systems.
The Importance Of Bottle Labeling
In 1933, 68% of all beer in the US was sold on tap, but by 2004 only 9% was sold on tap – this shows how important bottle labeling is to the beer industry. Branding and trademark are essential aspects to the success and longevity of products in this competitive industry. The emerging preference of the younger drinker is “right brand” when making beer selections. As you develop and grow your winery or microbrewery, take time to design a creative and recognizable label – one that would help consumers easily identify your product. A carefully crafted, eye-catching could be exactly what your business needs to differentiate it from the multitude of other wineries and microbreweries, both regional and national.
Recipe Ownership: The Chef Or The Restaurant?
Many clients question who owns the rights to a recipe – the chef or the restaurant? First and foremost, in order for any recipe to be copyrighted, it must be written down. The answer to ownership depends on timing and circumstances involved. If the chef created and wrote down the recipe prior to working at the restaurant, and merely recreated them at the restaurant, then the recipe would belong to the chef. The chef would also own the copyright to the recipe if he or she created the recipe on his or her own personal time and with his or her own money, even if the chef were employed at a restaurant.
However, if the chef created the recipe at the restaurant, then the recipe would belong to the restaurant, as outlined in the Work for Hire Doctrine of the Copyright Act. Many restaurants eliminate any confusion by using a Work for Hire Agreement that stipulates that all recipes created during the term of employment belong to the restaurant.
These same rules would apply to the winemaking and microbrewery industries.
Tracy P. Jong, Esq. |
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