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Probiotic intellectual property

Probiotic intellectual property

More supplement brands want to protect marketing claims using the term “probiotics” compared to food brands, showing good prospects for food creation.

Probiotics may be used in a number of ways to improve health and nutrition. These multiple uses are reflected in the types of patent applications that have been recently filed. Probiotic-containing products are directed to medicinal products and therapeutics uses, as well as natural extracts and supplements for improving human health. Alternative products include modified food products containing ingredients primarily for nutrition. Finally, an important use of probiotics is for improved animal feeds.

The gut microbiome is host to trillions of bacterial cells critical for digestion, immunity and an increasing number of newly discovered effects. The bacteria and mixtures of bacteria themselves are naturally occurring and thus cannot be patented. Patents may be directed to non-naturally occurring bacteria or mixtures. Patents may also be directed to specific formulations, including food preparations, for delivering the probiotics to the gut. The most popular genera found in patent applications are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

A strong brand must convey a unique message to consumers: it must provide a name that consumers will only associate with a particular brand. New or unique words provide the strongest brand identifiers, with new uses for known words coming a close second. Common or generic words tend to make weak brands that might not be appropriate for trademark protection.

Every trademark application must include not only the brand, but the goods and services associated with the brand. The term “probiotics” is common in trademark filings. Over the last 10 years, use of the term has grown considerably, as the probiotic industry has also grown.

Probiotic dietary supplements are an increasingly popular field. With an increase in popularity comes an increase in the number of brand names for competitive products. Since so many supplements brands use the term probiotic, the pool of available new brand names is ever-decreasing.

Learn more about trends in probiotic intellectual property in INSIDER’s Probiotic Digital Magazine.

Attorney Andreas Baltatzis is a director at KramerAmado PC, a boutique law firm specializing in intellectual property (IP). He represents a number of innovative nutritional supplement and nutraceutical companies that improve people’s lives every day. Baltatzis also helps companies prepare and implement IP strategies by obtaining patents and trademarks that protect their innovations and cash flow, as well as advising clients on successfully launching new products and brands.

Gideon Eckhouse is a senior associate at KramerAmado, with more than 10 years of experience in patents and trademarks. He assists innovative nutritional supplement and nutraceutical companies in protecting their IP throughout the world. Eckhouse counsels and implements global trademark strategies for new brand launches. Additionally, he prepares and prosecutes patent portfolios protecting new products coming to market.

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