American Indian Owned Law Firm

Lock it down: Intellectual property and Tulsa restaurateurs

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2024 | Corporate & Business Law

Restaurant proprietors often don’t realize they possess intellectual property (IP), or they overlook the importance of its protection. If your restaurant has a name, logo or even a list of frequent customers – you own IP.

Implementing protections for such property can safeguard your brand identity and give you a competitive advantage. The following are some things all dining establishment owners should know about restaurant IP.

Your branding materials are IP

Think of iconic, hugely successful restaurants – their names and logos are instantly recognizable. Trademarking your branding items ensures others cannot use similar words or designs that might confuse customers. You can even trademark distinctive menu item names or slogans.

Your recipes qualify as trade secrets

Original recipes are not just valuable assets – they are also trade secrets that should always be secure. Require anyone with access to sign confidentiality agreements and keep them locked away.

To qualify as trade secrets – allowing you to seek a remedy if stolen or used unlawfully – recipes and other items must be:

  • A secret with value providing a competitive advantage.
  • Known to only a small, authorized group.
  • Reasonably safeguarded from public knowledge (confidentiality agreements, passwords, locked doors).

If someone benefits from your trade secrets despite your protections, you can hold them accountable through legal action.

2 tips to protect your IP

When collaborating with an outside party on creative works like logos or designs, ensure a signed agreement transfers ownership (assignment) of the IP to your restaurant. Doing so helps you retain control and prevent ownership disputes later.

Work with an experienced IP and business law representative to create and implement an IP protection plan. An added benefit of guidance now is you will have well-informed representation if someone steals your IP and you need to respond in order to safeguard your company’s interests.