Starting and operating a business can be incredibly rewarding, but it is also very demanding. Depending on the industry in which you intend to operate, you will likely face several legal challenges as you work toward establishing your brand and claiming your share of your target market. Food is one of the most competitive business sectors in the world, and there is tremendous opportunity to establish a lucrative business in food products. However, if you want to establish a successful brand, you must protect the products and intellectual property you create.
While you cannot directly trademark a food itself, you can trademark the name of a new food product you intend to produce and sell. If you’re interested in trademarking a food product, you need to understand the steps you need to complete to secure the trademark you desire for your business. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the government agency responsible for processing trademark applications. To secure your food name trademark, you will need to navigate their complex rules and procedures.
A trademark is not a product itself, but it can be the name of a unique product, a symbol, slogan, image, or design that you intend to use to market and sell the product. For example, if you plan to sell a new type of cookie, you would not trademark “cookie” as this would be too generic. Instead, you would trademark the name of your new cookie and the package design you intend to use to market it.
Many people conflate trademarks with trade secrets, especially when it comes to food products. Your trademark is essentially the image of your product on the shelf, differentiating it from other products belonging to other brands. If you want to protect the recipe for your food product, this will require establishing trade secret protection and is an entirely different area of intellectual property law.
Filing a trademark application is more complex than many people realize. While it is technically possible to navigate these steps on your own, doing so will be much easier if you have the assistance of an experienced trademark attorney. Securing your food product trademark involves several steps:
This process is very time-consuming, and it can often take several months for a trademark to be fully approved. Working with an experienced trademark attorney can dramatically reduce the time required to complete the process and diminish the chances of disputes arising over your desired trademark.
Registering a trademark is one of the best ways to protect your brand from infringement. Once registered, no one else will be able to sell products with your trademarked food product name. If they do, you have the right to file a civil claim against them to prevent further misuse of your mark and to recover any damages their infringement may have caused. An experienced trademark attorney will be an essential asset if you intend to file a Cease and Desist letter to an infringing party or file a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Your attorney can also provide ongoing support in the future if you need to renew your trademark or file additional trademark applications for new products. Ultimately, a good trademark attorney can be an incredible asset for any business owner. Four Reasons Legal specializes in intellectual property law. We have helped many clients secure the trademarks and other intellectual property protection they need to run their businesses. If you’re interested in trademarking a new food product name, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our team’s legal services.