Protecting the Coca-Cola Trademark
It is widely recognized that the intrinsic value of Coca-Cola rests largely with its trademarks and the formula itself. Nevertheless, the patent for the original recipe was not renewed after some ingredients were changed early in its development. This decision was based on the knowledge that the expiration of the patent would allow competitors to create nearly identical products.
Instead, access to the formula is tightly controlled and known only to a select few key executives. Non disclosure agreements with enormous punitive consequences are always part of any employment agreement that includes knowledge of the recipe. With these tight legal restraints, Coca-Cola has successfully maintained control of its product base.
The Coca-Cola Company employs an enormous legal staff whose primary function is to protect the integrity of the brand names, logos, trademarks and intellectual property. Coca-Cola has trademark lawyers in North America, Latin America, Eurasia, Europe, Africa and the Southeast Asia.
The base of legal operation resides in Atlanta, Georgia, where a general counsel oversees a portfolio of over 30,000 world wide registered service marks, trademarks and patents. The legal team works through and in conjunction with the Trademark Practice Team.
Coca Cola has a rich history of developing innovative sales and marketing techniques, leading edge distribution models along with development of numerous beverage products. It is amazing to consider that sales for 2009 were a staggering 23.4 billion dollars, all of which are dependant on a few simple legally protected trademarks.