Posts Tagged: Trademarks

Build, Protect & Grow Your Brand

With the craft beer industry continuing to gain momentum, it becomes increasingly more difficult to come up with creative and unique beer and brewery names, as well as to ensure your recipes, people and logos remain your own.

In an article for Craft Brewing Business, Verrill Dana attorney Kelly Donahue, cautions breweries to beware of beer names that reference famous trademarks. As nearly 5,400 trademark applications containing the term “beer” were filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in 2016, up more than 23% from the previous year, brand owners are looking to protect their valuable trademarks. In the article, Kelly discusses oppositions involving breweries and famous trademarks, such as “Malterial Girl” and “Golden Ticket.”

In another article for the premier issue of CraftBrand & Marketing magazine, Verrill Dana attorney Tawny Alvarez takes the concept of protecting your brand a step further in that your people are a vital component to your brand. (more…)

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Canadian Company Pursues Moose Trademark: Trouble Brewing for Maine Beer Makers

As brewers and residents of Maine, whose state animal after all is a moose, this recent Bangor Daily News article about a large Canadian corporation chasing U.S. brewers with a trademark for “moose” is cause for concern. I know from my dealings with Maine brewers that potential disputes over product names are usually resolved peacefully and respectfully, but keep in mind that there are other, larger companies beyond our borders who don’t necessarily take the same approach.  (more…)

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Nuts and Bolts of Registering Your Brewery Name

We have previously covered the process for developing your brewery/distillery/winery’s name, including the essential step of clearance. Once you have found and cleared the perfect name, the next step is to protect it. The best way to protect your name is by registering it as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The first step in the registration process is determining what type of mark you are going to register. There are two broad types of marks: standard character marks or stylized marks. A standard character mark protects the word or words you are using, without reference to the font, size, color, shape, etc. of the characters. In contrast, a stylized mark is designed to protect more specialized marks, such as an artistic logo or stylized fonts, shapes, colors. A standard mark provides protection for your name, preventing others from using the words you have registered no matter how they attempt to dress or stylize them. If you have developed a company name and an associated logo, often times it makes sense to register both the words (as a standard character mark) and the logo itself as a stylized mark. (more…)

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Selecting Your Company’s Name

Like anyone who has ever been a child1, I always wanted to have a cool nickname. Unfortunately, according to the unwritten rules of coolness, you can never give yourself a nickname. Luckily those interested in starting an alcoholic beverage business of your own, one of the key steps in starting a brewery, distillery, or winery is coming up with a name for your business.

The right name can bring in customers, set yourself off from your competition, and generally bring happiness and success to you and your business. Choosing the wrong name can spell disaster. Your name needs to be original, which sounds simple enough, but with over 4,000 breweries, 800 distilleries, and over 8,000 wineries in the United States at the end of 2015, with more joining every day, originality is harder than it seems. (more…)

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Deceptive Marketing Lawsuits Against Alcoholic Beverage Industry on the Rise

The number of lawsuits against alcoholic beverage manufacturers for alleged deceptive marketing grew again this past December, with both Guinness and Foster’s Beer facing new lawsuits in federal court. In Massachusetts, a consumer filed suit against Guinness alleging that the company improperly advertised that “all Extra Stout sold in North America is brewed in Ireland at historic St. James’ Gate Brewery in Dublin.”

In New York, a consumer filed a suit alleging that Foster’s marketing implied that the beer was brewed in Australia, based on its advertisements that featured actors with Australian accents and its slogans “Foster’s, Australian for Beer” and “How to Speak Australian.” Foster’s moved its brewing operations to Fort Worth, Texas in 2011, and a “misled” consumer is seeking compensation from Foster’s. (more…)

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