Trademark disputes are frequent within the craft beer trade.
The abundance of craft beers everywhere in the nation ends in similarly-named breweries and beers very often. Whereas acquiring a federal trademark is often a good suggestion if you’re promoting and promoting your beer/brewery in multiple state, this abundance of breweries ends in numerous rejections at the USA Patent and Trademark Workplace (USPTO). I’ve discovered that many breweries are conscious of those points and are open to working with different breweries to reduce any doable confusion, particularly when the breweries are positioned in several areas (totally different states or totally different areas). As such, if the USPTO does subject a probability of confusion rejection primarily based on one other brewery, oftentimes a consent/co-existence settlement generally is a good risk to acquire with the opposite brewery exhibiting that the 2 events haven’t experiences any precise confusion and that they’ll take steps to make sure there isn’t a confusion sooner or later. The USPTO will sometimes take this settlement into consideration when ruling on a probability of confusion rejection, thus hopefully ensuing within the issuance of the federal trademark.
Whereas two breweries with similarly-named beers or the brewery themselves will not be that every one unusual and the potential for the 2 breweries working collectively to reduce confusion is oftentimes doable, these conditions are often current when the 2 breweries should not positioned in the identical geographic space. The geographic places of the breweries and the place they promote their beer is large when taking a look at precise client confusion. Many craft beers don’t distribute their beers nationally, and as such, customers should not going to be confused by two similarly-named beers in two vastly totally different areas.
However what occurs when these two breweries are shut in proximity to the opposite? That’s the state of affairs proper now with two Texas breweries positioned inside 100 miles of each other who each have “monkey” of their names. Suds Monkey Brewing Co. positioned in Dripping Springs, Texas (west of Austin) is suing San Antonio’s Brew Monkey Beer Co. for trademark infringement, alleging that the San Antonio brewery identify is confusingly much like their brewery identify.
Brew Monkey Beer Co. lately opened on the finish of August 2020. The stakes are excessive, as Suds Monkey desires a federal court docket to ban Bew Monkey from utilizing the Brew Monkey Beer Co. identify, together with being awarded trebled damages and earnings made by Brew Monkey.
The USPTO issued trademark registrations for Suds Monkey Brewing (registration date of August 8, 2017) and Suds Monkey Brewing Co. (registration date of January 2, 2018), with a claimed first use date of Could 12, 2017.
Brew Monkey Beer Co. has filed a trademark software for his or her brand which accommodates the wording “BREW MONKEY BEER CO. SAN ANTONIO TEXAS,” and a monkey holding a beer. This software was filed on July 7, 2020, and has not but been examined by the USPTO. It’s an intent-to-use software.
The proprietor of Brew Monkey hopes that the 2 will come to an affordable compromise. Nevertheless, Suds Monkey Brewing accuses Brew Monkey of intent to deceive customers and trigger confusion amongst purchasers.
It is going to be fascinating to see how this case progresses. As Brew Monkey has only in the near past opened, it’s doable that they might re-brand in an try to settle any potential claims from Suds Monkey, regardless that that may very well be expensive to take action. When wanting on the precise infringement between the 2 marks, they each include the identical phrase “MONKEY,” and “SUDS” does have the which means of beer. Thus, it’s seemingly that, had this lawsuit not been filed, the USPTO would have issued a rejection of Brew Monkey’s trademark software for probability of confusion primarily based on the Suds Monkey emblems. However it’s doable that the addition of the emblem could be seen as an extra differentiation level between the 2 marks. Nevertheless, even when the Brew Monkey trademark didn’t subject, that might not forestall Brew Monkey from utilizing the mark, and that’s the reason the lawsuit has been filed as a federal court docket is the correct venue to really forestall one other from utilizing a federally-registered trademark, as is the case for Suds Monkey.
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Creator: Kameron Kramer
Kameron is an skilled enterprise legislation and mental property legal professional. With a technical background gained as a chemical engineer, Kameron makes use of his diverse abilities to offer basic counsel and start-up companies to many native and regional corporations.