FoodFinder South West
Passionate about Protection

Passionate about Protection

As a food and drink producer you’re understandably passionate about your product and brand, so it’s only right that you’re passionate about protecting it too.

If you’re a start-up business, no doubt you’ll have plenty to think about, but here are a few pointers from a legal perspective which might help too.

Before using your trade name, do your research - most high-profile businesses have protected their trademark and are often vigilant in preventing smaller businesses from using any name which might be similar to their own.

Come up with an original name and check whether it’s being used by other businesses that may see you as a potential competitor.

Visit www.ipo.gov.uk and check the database of existing trademarks, as well
as www.companieshouse.gov.uk.

Next, secure the name with Companies House - this is done on a first come, first
served basis. However, if a company’s already trading with a name, but hasn’t
yet registered it with Companies House they still may have a claim against you for
trademark infringement or passing off and you may also be forced to give up the
name by the Company Names Tribunal.

You might want to protect against your employees or partners setting up on their
own and taking valuable ideas specific to your business with them. One way of doing
this is by including restrictive covenants, for example, in their employment terms
or by putting a non-disclosure agreement in place - this is highly recommended but
legal advice should be taken to ensure the terms are enforceable.

With copyright, setting up Google alerts can help you check whether your website content or other written works are being copied without your permission on other websites or publications.

And finally when it comes to inventions, designs or new product ideas, seek advice
from a suitably qualified patent attorney as early as possible.

Giles Dunning is a Corporate Solicitor and member of Stephens Scown LLP Food and Drink Team.  For more information please visit www.stephens-scown.co.uk or call Giles on 01872 265100