December 2020

Beatrice Martinet writes “Intellectual Property Protection in the Food Industry” for Food Safety Magazine


Through its widespread involvement in and impact on a number of industries, including farming, agriculture, production, packaging, distribution, retail, and catering industries, the food industry has become the world’s largest industry. Not surprisingly, it has also become one of the most competitive industries, with thousands of businesses trying to outmaneuver one another to gain an edge over their rivals. To do so, food companies are expending considerable resources in creating and promoting distinctive brands and increasingly looking toward intellectual property (IP) protection as a tool to establish or maintain their dominance in the field.

And yet, other than an extensive use of trademarks and some limited design protection applied to packaging, IP protection has traditionally been underutilized in the food space. As stated by Eben Freeman, the creator of the smoked-Coca-Cola cocktail, “In no other creative business can you so easily identify money attached to your creative property…Yet, we have less protection than anyone else.”

As we will outline below, IP offers a wide array of tools that can set companies apart and edge out the competition…