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  • Writer's pictureNancy C. Prager

Licensing and Wine - Adventures in Licensing

Rarely do my Jewish traditions and area of legal practice overlap but thanks to Manischewitz' rebrand, this year's Passover is different in more ways than others!

Manischewitz' food and wine have been a staple on Jewish families' tables during Passover since 1888.

This year Kayco, the company that owns the brand now, has undertaken an effort to modernize the brand to appeal to a younger, more hip audience. 

The rebrand includes new packaging, a new logo, a new nickname (M'z) and some new products too! 

But one MANISCHEWITZ branded product is not getting the same rebranding as the other Manischewitz products: the MANISCHEWITZ wine

According to this New York Times article, the reason the wine still looks (and tastes) the same is that Manischewitz hasn't produced the wine since before Prohibition... rather they give permission to a third party (E.J. Gallo) to do so under a license. 

What is licensing?

Licensing is the process where a brand ("Licensor") lends ("Licenses") their intellectual property to a third-party ("Licensee") to use on goods or services the third-party manufactures or offers ("Licensed Products"). 

Generally, the Licensor gets paid a percentage of the revenue ("Royalty") the Licensee earns from the sale of the Licensed Products.

Way back in the 1930s the B. Manischewitz Company licensed a third-party vintner to use the mark MANISCHEWITZ on wine, and that tradition has continued for nearly 100 years. 

Why License? 

Licensing is a great way for a Licensor to extend their brand into new categories without having to undertake the effort & expense of manufacturing or offering goods and services. 

Here, I imagine after Prohibition the B. Manischewitz Company did not want to make the investments necessary to start manufacturing wine again. Finding a manufacturer already in the business of wine allowed them to offer the (now legal again) wine to their customers. 

The Licensee of the MANISCHEWITZ mark paid B. Manischewitz a royalty in consideration of the value the existing brand brought to the marketplace. For nearly 100 years E. J. Gallo and its predecessor Licensees have been assured constant stream of customers who buy the Manischewitz wine for Passovers, Mitzvahs, Weddings and countless other life occasions that require Kosher wine. 

Licensing is a win-win if done right... in later posts I will elaborate on the business of licensing. 

What do you think of the rebrand for MANISCHEWITZ? 

Chag Pesach Sameach! 

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