Protecting your Brand and Intellectual Property

Rob Lucas, Head of Intellectual Property, answers some of the questions you may have.

Our sector and our business relies heavily on packaging design and branding. We want to make sure that our designs and ideas are protected. How can we do this?

Our specialist intellectual property lawyers will work with you to identify your precise requirements and any risks that exist in terms of protecting your brand. This will encompass reviewing the names and logos you use for your business and its products and the shapes, features and colourways adopted in packaging. Even something as seemingly generic as the wrapping used for pallets or the method of tearing open a food-to-go carton can involve IP rights.

Our IP team has acted in respect of a number cases concerning the intellectual property rights in packaging and have a clear understanding of what can and cannot be copied. These cases have included claims of design right and patent infringement.

Many of our recipes have been developed carefully over a long time; they are crucial to our success and we need to ensure that they are protected and not copied. Can you help with this?

Yes. We help a wide range of clients in your sector to maintain confidentiality of their recipes and methods, and there are a number of ways that we can do this. We can undertake a review of your entire range or a single product, and advise you on a strategy for protecting your recipes and techniques.

Taking things like packaging, our brand, and our recipes and techniques – we are worried that we have never really protected anything properly and there is a danger that it may all be in a bit of a mess. Can we clear this up so that everything is properly organised?

Yes. We would recommend an intellectual property audit carried out by a member of our team. This will ensure that your IP rights are identified, retained and protected and that you have clear records of everything. The audit will also identify if there are any IP rights which you should own, but you don’t.

Once the ownership of your IP rights has been resolved, we can then advise on how to obtain the best benefit from those IP rights which will include brand management, brand protection and development, product licensing, and white labelling agreements.

We only manufacture under white-label or de-branded arrangements. Do we need to consider IP?

The short answer is yes. Where you manufacture for a customer, you need to ensure you have a licence to use their IP rights and ensure these are respected. You will also need to understand how your own know-how and IP rights are used. We can also help with determining who owns any new IP developed as part of the arrangement.

You can still have liability if you manufacture and supply a product which infringes a third party’s IP rights, even though you are making it to order for a customer. We can again help you identify these risks and guard against them.

Our team

Ian Dawson

Partner

Employment & HR

Direct Line +44 (0)113 297 7735

Emma Greenwood

Partner

Corporate

Direct Line +44 (0)113 297 8068

Rob Lucas

Partner

Head of Intellectual Property

Direct Line +44 (0)113 297 8941

Lyn Dario

Partner

Head of Environmental & Regulatory

Direct Line +44 (0)113 297 3779