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Many micro-breweries provide very innovative craft beers. Sometimes, it is the aroma, taste, after-taste, etc. These are things that a conventional, larger brewer would not have been able to do. These micro-breweries are still finding different niches, and developing new frontiers in the beer market to differentiate themselves from larger brewers or other microbrewers. The competition in the market seems to be becoming even steeper and tougher. For many microbrewers, except for protecting their brand name under the trademark law, beer seems so unrelated to other intellectual property rights.

Not so quick! Your beer (or the novel way of making it) could be protected by obtaining a patent.

Your beer’s special aroma or taste can be expressed in a chemical formula. For example, green apple aroma (or rotten apple smell) may be created by the amount of acetaldehyde present in a beer; a buttery taste may be created by the presence and amount of diacetyl in a beer, etc. These various chemicals and their amounts determine the unique taste of beers, and are often dictated by the fermentation process, and/or use of specific types of yeast. Therefore, if a brewer comes up with a new and innovative method or process of intensifying certain tastes or aromas (or preventing them), that process could be patented. In fact, there are patent classification symbols being designated for beer fermentation processes, preparation of malt, processes specially adapted for making special kinds of beers, brewing devices, etc. As you build your beer portfolio, building a proper IP portfolio is an important consideration and strategy.

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This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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