Protecting IP in the Restaurant Industry: Trademarks, Copyrights, Social Media, and Marketing Issues

A live 90-minute premium CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

1:00pm-2:30pm EST, 10:00am-11:30am PST

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, November 1, 2019

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to restaurant counsel and owners on managing key intellectual property and branding challenges. The panel will discuss IP protection, licensing, infringement, and enforcement. It will also explore leveraging social media and other marketing tools to enhance the brand.


A restaurant's brand is its identity, conveying the essence of the business and the customer experience. Restaurant owners should proactively and vigilantly protect their brands and names and explore IP protection for other potential assets, including advertising concepts, design, and menus items. Before adoption, new brands should be searched, cleared, and protected. Restaurateurs have a range of options to consider, including trademarks, trade dress, copyrights, and even patents. In addition, restaurants must also avoid infringing others' IP rights. In particular, restaurants must secure licensing rights to play, stream, or perform music. If a restaurant is taking or granting a license, there are also critical IP issues that need to be addressed.

Today’s restaurants also make frequent use of social media. In so doing, restaurateurs may inadvertently expose their brands to legal risk. Marketers for restaurants, whether in-house or through agencies, often make mistakes that can lead to claims of intellectual property infringement. In addition, many of the marketing techniques that restaurants use, such as sweepstakes, influencer marketing, loyalty programs, or charitable donations, expose the restaurants to regulatory concerns.

Experienced counsel can guide restaurant owners to understand, police, and protect their intellectual property and mitigate the risk of infringement and regulatory issues. A restaurant’s business plan should include legal protection for the restaurant’s IP portfolio, including brand names, decor, and recipes. The business plan should also take into account short-term and long-term marketing strategies to ensure that the restaurant does not run afoul of any advertising law principles.

Listen as our authoritative panel examines branding issues in the restaurant and hospitality industry. The panel will discuss how IP laws can help protect the restaurant, its name, its presentation, menus, and recipes. It will explore licensing and performance rights needed to bring music into the restaurant. The panel will also explore trends in marketing restaurants, including how to make legal use of digital and in-restaurant platforms. Finally, the panel will discuss monitoring for infringement and handling IP disputes and regulatory inquiries.



  1. IP essentials for restaurants
  2. Menus
  3. Brand extensions and licensing
  4. Marketing and social media issues
  5. Enforcement and protection


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What trademark issues should counsel anticipate and address during the development of a restaurant brand?
  • What are the infringement vulnerabilities for restaurants, including décor or trade dress issues?
  • How can restaurants leverage copyright protection to enhance the brand?
  • How can counsel help clients avoid IP risk on social media?
  • How can a restaurant’s marketing expose it to regulatory concerns?
  • What should a restaurant do before launching a sweepstakes or similar promotion on Facebook or Instagram?
  • What unique concerns are there for restaurants in using influencers, and how can counsel address those issues contractually?
  • Do loyalty programs create special risk for restaurants?
  • What tactics should IP counsel employ to enforce trademarks and other intellectual property rights in the restaurant and hospitality industry?
  • What strategies should counsel use if it receives a cease and desist letter or some other kind of legal demand?


Hilfer, Kyle-Beth
Kyle-Beth Hilfer, Esq.

Hilfer Law; Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman (Of Counsel)

Ms. Hilfer is the principal attorney at Hilfer Law. She has over 30 years’ experience advocating for brands as an...  |  Read More

Mertzel, Nancy
Nancy J. Mertzel

Mertzel Law

Ms. Mertzel has more than 25 years of experience protecting brand names, products, content and technology. Her practice...  |  Read More

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