Premium and distinctive packaging (design) is considered key drivers for growth in the food and beverages industry. When faced with a steadily growing number of very similar products, aside from any other considerations such as taste, cost or consumer loyalty, consumers are are in particular influenced by the visual appearance of product packaging - which can add a great deal of value to your product. In particular in a crowded market like the food and drink industry the packaging can set your products apart from those of your competitors'. Which is why you may want to protect it - to obtain a monopoly and ensure none of your competitors uses the same or a similar packaging.
But packaging comes with both challenges and opportunities from an IP perspective. So what can you do to protect the investment into creating successful packaging? There are different routes of protection: Two- or three-dimensional trademarks, registered or unregistered design rights, copyrights and patents. While there can be some overlap between the different rights, the elements of your product they can protect does vary and each comes with its very own requirements, limitations, advantages and disadvantages.
There is no "correct" method for protecting packaging, and no one size fits all. But using the "bouquet" legal tools available in a smart way, and devising a strategy to properly protect your packaging (design), will clearly support your business' growth. So make sure you engage and discuss with your trusted IP advisor at an early stage which methods of IP protection would best serve your specific needs!
Another driver of SKU proliferation is the popularity of premium products aimed at niche markets. The success of these products is due in large part to packaging innovations that give the products a premium look-and-feel and help them stand out from the competition. The high margins associated with premium products will ensure that we see more and more of these in the years ahead.