Trade mark protection for niche providers - Gabriela Manser turns Flauder into a trend drink.
Natural aromas are not patentable and despite intensive research, they can seldom be broken down into exact chemical formulas. For the producers of soft drinks, this has consequences - every flavour innovation that finds its devotees is copied as well as marketed by competitors.
“For a small supplier who can’t earn its money with quantity, only brand management remains”, says Gabriela Manser, Managing Director of the Appenzeller family business Goba (Goba AG, Mineralquelle und Manufaktur).
In 2002, the Appenzeller launched what is to date her most successful brand product. It’s called Flauder, a derivation of “Flickflauder”, the Appenzeller word for butterfly. The drink contains elderflowers and melissa and is meanwhile obtainable from wholesalers as well as in numerous trend bars and in-vogue pubs.
Nobody in Gontenbad was therefore surprised when the first elderflower-melissa drink from a competitor was marketed only two years after the launch of Flauder. But then came the shock - a butterfly was pictured on the label of the imitation product.
Gabriela Manser recalls: “When we were preparing the launch of Flauder, we looked for something special and placed the name-giving butterfly on the back of the label. It should only be visible through the bottle.” This was a smart option which could have been protected by filing the front as well as the back of the label. The Goba team, however, were unaware of this option and they dispensed with protection of the butterfly.
“This incident was a lesson for me,” says Gabriela Manser. For the last four years she has been working with a specialised trade mark attorney. His main task is to permanently keep an eye on the behaviour of competitors in the area of trade mark law and to intervene where necessary.
Such an involvement is not free, however. But Gabriela Manser knows, “Efficient trade mark protection is important for our market position.”
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