The craft brewing industry is booming throughout the United States, including the
Asheville area. As the field of brewers grows more crowded and with a limited number
of appropriate names for beer and brewery brands, trademark disputes between
breweries are also becoming more common.
The recent conflict between Innovation Brewing in Sylva and the larger
Michigan-based corporation Bell's Brewing highlights how contentious
and costly these disputes can become. After Innovation filed a trademark
application to register its name, Bell's filed an Opposition to the
application because it contends that registration of "Innovation
Brewery," will be likely to cause confusion and thus injure Bell's.
A recent article by NPR explains
how difficult it is now for new brewers to come up with a name, either for a brewery business or a beer. Even a beer label image can
provoke a legal dispute now that more than 3,000 other breweries are in
the U.S. marketplace. As the article notes, there are only so many ways
to appropriately brand beer.
If you're a brewer contemplating adopting a new brand or filing a trademark
application, seek legal counsel first before you initiate the process.
An attorney from our
Intellectual Property Team can guide you safely through increasingly uncharted territory. A legal
battle with another brewery can amount to tens of thousands of dollars
in fees. Before your business incurs those kinds of costs, let us help
you with any trademark issues.
For more information please visit
www.vwlawfirm.com or call (828) 258-2991.