People’s creativity and inventiveness exceed all expectations. Therefore, the need to protect the full spectrum of creativity takes the form of intellectual property rights. You have to bear in mind the fact that if you want to develop your business, your intellectual property strategy must be aligned with your competitive strategy so that the whole process behind creating a product is optimized. Next, we will address the topic of artisan products and the main IP implications that you need to consider.
The artisan context
Entrepreneurs who run small businesses need to bear in mind the fact that they do not need large budgets to ensure that their business is protected. They need to be aware of the main challenges they may face when starting out. Among the 3 most common types of challenges are: 1) the possibility that the recipe according to which they create their product may be stolen and implemented by another business; 2) the impossibility of using the trademark under which it operates as it has been registered by another entity holding all exclusive use rights; 3) last but not least, if the company uses innovative equipment and does not hold a patent in the IP portfolio for that equipment, there is a good chance that the mode of operation for that equipment will be registered by another company and used as such.
An artisan product requires, in addition to the specialization of certain techniques and knowledge on how to combine ingredients or elements, aspects such as labeling the product and offering it to consumers. Analysis of the primary element that underlies this type of business shows that the recipe for making the product is the key to the success of this business. As it is also the basic element in ensuring the company’s activity, it must enjoy additional protection.
The culinary imprint
We all know at least one chef who has managed, through his or her personal imprint, to delight our taste buds. But we do not know what that secret ingredient or secret method was of combining the ingredients that turned the result into a commendable product. However, there is the question of the form that the recipe will take from the point of view of intellectual property.
There are several ways to protect such a recipe. The first possibility is provided by the registration of the recipe as a trade secret, to which only certain people can have access on the basis of a confidentiality agreement. A trade secret is information that should not be disclosed to the general public and has commercial value in that it is secret.
How to protect a craft beer recipe
Let’s take the example of craft beer producers. The perseverance and passion of the people in this sector never fail to impress every consumer, especially due to the limited number of products, but also to the consumer’s great desire to purchase such products. Among the forms of intellectual property that a craft beer manufacturer can own are: patents, industrial designs or trade secrets. The patents cover aspects related to the equipment used in the beer production process. Thus, if the company has managed to create its own innovative equipment, it has to obtain a patent for it.
If you are already marketing your products, it is important to consider how you present this product to customers. Therefore, the label will be the customer’s first contact with your product, and protecting it is more than necessary. An industrial design can save you from possible product design theft. Last but not least, trade secrets will help you maintain the authentic taste of your product. Only in this way will you be able to enjoy an element of originality and uniqueness that will retain your loyal consumers and keep your competitors at a distance.
Instead of a conclusion
Intellectual property must be seen as a company asset, and not just as an additional outgoing. Intellectual property brings value to the company and keeps the company’s assets protected from the risks of being copied by the competition. The likelihood of a competitor producing, selling or distributing similar products is thus significantly reduced.