If You See Kay (say aloud slowly, then giggle when you get the innuendo)

The reverent Italian winery, If You See Kay Wines, named its Italian red blend “If You See Kay” with the tag line “no holds barred wine.” Pure genius. The marketing team gave the wine and its producer a real personality.  The marketing copy reveals “Kay is a creative. She is an embodiment of a lifestyle, a game, a feeling in your gut… she’s not trying to be, she just is …” Of course, they also guaranteed sales with the humorous name and zany label design. This trade name for the wine product is a valuable asset for the winery. Hear the name once and you are unlikely to forget it.

Alcohol manufacturers put intensive resources into their product image and branding.  When others rip-off their creative ideas, it hurts the bottom line in more than one way.  The best way to protect this asset is with a federal trademark registration for the brand. The cost is likely to be less than $1,000 and ensures that the winery can stop copycats in their tracks. The labels should also be protected by copyright registration for the unique artwork and literary text. Many companies can learn to register their own copyrights, incurring only a small $35 fee for electronic copyright registration filing.

Intellectual property embodies the brand image and good will. Don’t let it be an afterthought. Don’t regret not protecting your assets after copycats hit the market and usurp a portion of your market share. Put intellectual property protection strategy on your to-do list for the new year in 2014.  A  small investment in time and money can yield big results.