One of the important decisions a craft beverage producer must make is choosing a bottle design that will convey the brand’s character and stands out so customers can easily identify the product among a sea of other bottles on the store shelves and coolers.
Trade dress protection is a type of trademark that protects packaging design such as bottles. The goal of federal law is to protect customers who spend money to buy a product – to be sure they get the product they are looking for, not a copycat imitation that may have a lower quality.
Simple, cost-effective protections such as design patents and trade dress should be priorities for craft beverage producers. The first step is clearing your name and bottle (or packaging) design – sometimes not an easy task. There are so many brands, bottle designs, and product names in the alcoholic beverage industry. Your best bet is to choose names that reference or conjure up images of the industry rather than directly incorporate descriptive or popular industry terminology. It is best to have your trademark attorney vet out the name, logo or bottle design before you invest money in labeling and marketing.