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7 Trade Mark Tips for Craft Breweries in NZ 

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New Zealand’s craft breweries are becoming increasingly popular. The concept of a craft brewery is more about just producing craft beer. Instead, breweries create entire experiences and communities around their brands. This makes protecting your trade mark even more important. This article will take you through seven trade mark tips that should help New Zealand craft breweries navigate trade marks more effectively. 

1. Understand Why Trade Marks Are Important 

Craft breweries thrive on creativity. This is often reflected in their distinctive names and logos on their labels and other goods.

It is important that you understand that these branding elements are more than identifiers. Instead, they are the pinnacle of the brewery’s identity. Protecting these elements with a registered trade mark helps protect your brewery’s brand identity and market presence. Overall, this helps increase the value of the business, meaning the importance of a registered trade mark cannot be underestimated.

2. Know How to Create Distinctive Trade Marks 

As touched on above, craft breweries are known for their individuality. Their trade marks must reflect this.

When selecting which trade marks to register, you must aim to be distinctive and set yourself apart from other breweries. This requires avoiding generic terms or descriptions that will not set you apart. Overall, the more distinctive the trade mark is, the stronger its protection will be from infringement.

For example, your craft brewery should have a unique name and register a mark for such a name. In addition, craft breweries are usually visually driven businesses. As such, your logos and labels play an important role in brand recognition. Regardless of whether your logo is elaborate or minimal, it must be unique.

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3. Understand How to Navigate the Trade Mark Registration Process

You may find the trade mark registration process can be difficult to navigate. However, it is a necessary step for your brewery. Some of the key steps to understand to navigate the trade mark registration process include:

  • conducting trade mark searches;
  • preparing and filing an application; and
  • monitoring your trade marks.

Working with an experienced trade mark lawyer is one way to streamline the application process. An experienced professional knows the ins and outs of the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). As such, they will ensure that you can confidently navigate any issues you encounter. 

4. Consider the Importance of Brand Expansion 

Trade mark protection becomes even more relevant as your craft brewery seeks to expand its reach to bigger markets. You may look to expand and sell to other regions in New Zealand. Likewise, you may decide to sell your brewery’s products to international markets. Regardless, you must protect your brewery’s mark to avoid conflict and maintain brand consistency across all geographic areas.

5. Monitor and Enforce Your Marks 

Trade mark protection does not end at registration. Rather, you must on an ongoing basis, monitor trade mark applications and respond to potential infringements. You must monitor the market for unauthorised use of your brewery’s trade marks.

This might look like a competitor selling similar goods or a retailer selling counterfeit goods. No matter what the infringement looks like, you need to promptly enforce your trade mark rights. This sends a clear message that you are committed to protecting your brewery’s reputation.

6. Educate Your Team

Trade mark management requires more than legal considerations. Instead, everyone involved in your brewery’s operations must know the importance of trade marks. This helps foster a strong understanding of the importance of brand protection from service workers to marketing executives. Having clear, consistent guidelines will help ensure consistency across all brewery activities. 

7. Obtain Brewery-Specific Guidance

Consider that your craft brewery operates within a niche industry. This automatically comes with unique opportunities and challenges. One of these challenges is that you require industry-specific legal advice.  

If you work closely with experienced trade mark lawyers, this can ensure your brewery receives industry-specific legal advice. You will need this advice in order to navigate the trade mark process effectively. Also, you will need this advice to consolidate your vision for your brewery.

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Key Takeaways 

Craft breweries are more than just businesses. Instead, breweries create entire experiences and communities round their brands. By understanding the nuances of trade mark law and implementing trade mark strategies, New Zealand’s craft breweries can protect their business. Some key tips for new Zealand’s craft breweries to effectively navigate trade marks include:

  • understanding why trade marks are important;
  • knowing how to create distinctive trade marks;
  • considering the importance of brand expansion;
  • monitoring and enforcing your marks;
  • educating your trade mark team; and
  • obtaining industry-specific guidance.

If you need help understanding how trade marks can benefit your brewery, contact our experienced trade mark lawyers as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page

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Emily Young

Emily Young

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