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Roythornes Food Team have provided some Top Tips to help food companies guard their creations.
1. Competition Commission
When it comes to the practice of replacing and delisting, the competition commission is the most relevant organisation and form of defence.
The Enterprise Act 2002 enables the Office of Fair Trading to investigate and refer markets to the Competition Commission (CC) for an in-depth investigation if they have concerns.
The CC is required by the Enterprise Act to decide if any feature or combination of features in a market prevents, restricts or distorts competition.
An investigation enables the CC to undertake wide-reaching assessments of a market and focus on the operation of a market as a whole rather than individuals within it.
If the CC finds elements of a market are harming competition, it is obliged to remedy the problem by introducing solutions of its own or recommending action by others.
2. Protecting a new idea; Patents
Patents are used to protect an invention if they are new, involve a new inventive step and are capable of being made or used in industry so long as the item is not an adaptation or already in the public domain.
Automatically applies in the first instant to work that is original and involved “independent creative effort.”
There is no need to register with the cover lasting for the life of the creator plus 70 years from the end of the year in which they died.
4. Protecting Packaging; Trademark
Registering a trademark is a highly relevant form of protection for anyone who spends large amounts of money developing brands, and a trademark can consist of words, logos or a combination of both.
A registration provides 10 years where you have the exclusive right to use that mark for the goods and services it covers.
The appearance of a product can be protected by a registered or unregistered design right.
It is important to understand the definition of design, it is the appearance of the product resulting from lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product or ornamentation.
The design must also be new and individual and needs to be registered in the UK within 12 months after it was first disclosed.
Registration gives exclusive rights in the design for up to 25 years, however an unregistered design right does not protect the article only the design itself if it can be proven that it was copied intentionally.
For more information about our services please visit our food sector page.
If you would like to find out more, speak to Peter Bennett, head of our food team on 01775 842567