Sugar Rush to Resuscitate the Twinkie with IP

Dec 4, 2012

Hostess Brands Inc. Twinkies snacks sit on a shelf inside the company's outlet store in Peoria, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. Hostess Brands Inc., the bankrupt maker of Wonder bread and Twinkies, said it will fire more than 18,000 workers and liquidate after a nationwide strike by bakery workers crippled operations. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

The well-reported death of the Twinkie and the legendary brand that brought us these all-American sugary confections continues to haunt the sweet tooth in all of us. But with every end is a new beginning and there is hope that Hostess may be reincarnated by intellectual property (IP).

Hostess’ robust IP portfolio, primarily comprised of trademarks that include the aforementioned Twinkie, and storied treats like Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, and Wonder Bread is worth over $134 million, attracting a sugar rush of investors and bakers who would like to capitalize and revitalize the brand.

Though this reinvention may draw the ire of nutritionists and dentists alike, the Twinkie has the opportunity to be more than a memory. As President Mark Putnam from Central College in Pella, Iowa, puts it:

As the dust settles on the closure of the company, the intellectual property rights, patents and trademark protection make the Twinkie, as an idea, even more indestructible than the actual cake.

If Hostess had a will, one of the biggest assets the bakery giant leaves behind is its IP. In fact, IP is central to just about every iconic brand, innovative business, and creative industry. What’s more, trademarks, patents, and copyrights are responsible for keeping 55 million Americans employed and generating over one-third of U.S. GDP.

Setting aside the myriad of union and distribution issues, Hostess’ IP may be the lifeline for the brand’s—and our sweet tooth’s—survival. 

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