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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 or call (828) 258-2991.