Page 7 - Beverage MasterFebMarch 2021_Update
P. 7

Legal & Marketing

               How Your Intellectual Property

               Can Make or Break a Merger

               By: Ashley Earle, Attorney, Dinsmore & Shohl
                L       ike a good recipe, a good brand name for    define the different types of IP that exist:

                        a beer, wine, or other beverage can drive
                        sales. That recipe, distilling process, bottle
                        design, or logo is all a form of intellectual   •  Trademarks: A trademark is the most common
                                                                       form of IP protection in the alcoholic beverage
               property that helps define who you are in the indus-    industry. It protects anything that functions as
               try. It can also be a defining and important part of    a source identifier, (product names, company
               any transaction.                                        names, logos like the NBC peacock, bottle or can
                                                                       designs like the Coca-Cola bottle, or even sounds
                 In today’s COVID world, breweries, wineries and       like the ESPN tones). Trademarks can be reg-
               distilleries of all types are doing what they have to   istered and unregistered, though unregistered
               in order to survive and one day thrive. Some are        marks are limited in geographic scope.
               turning to mergers and acquisitions as potential
               strategies for survival and success. It’s important to   •  Patents: This protects a unique invention (a
               know how your intellectual property (IP) can make a     brewing process, a novel distillation column), a
               difference, good and bad, to a potential deal. Below    unique design (bottle designs), or a unique plant
               are the five things you need to know about IP in a      (strains of yeast or grapes). Patents must be
               merger or acquisition.                                  registered and issued to be enforceable, though
                                  What Is IP?                          pending applications will be relevant in an M&A
                 Before we get there, it’s important to quickly

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