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Komlossy Law, P.A. is Proud to be a 2013 South Florida BrewFest Sponsor

sflbrewfest logo

 November 14, 2013, Hollywood, FL – 

Komlossy Law is proud to be a sponsor of the 2013 South Florida BrewFest to be held on Saturday, November 23, 2013 from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the Kovens Conference Center on FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus. Learn more about the BrewFest and get your tickets by visiting http://www.sflbrewfest.com/ and follow the links to learn more about the exciting beer courses made available by FIU’s Institute for Hospitality & Tourism Education & Research.

By |November 14th, 2013|News|0 Comments

Proposed Crowdfunding Rules – Small Business and Craft Brewers

AventinusGlass

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act) was put in place with the purpose of doing what the name suggests. One portion of the Act would allow companies to raise money via crowdfunding without registering the offering with the SEC. Small, often interesting/innovative, businesses, such as craft breweries, have been using crowdfunding platforms to raise money by offering “investors” goods and swag in return for the “investment”. “Investment” is used in quotations because it has really been more of a donation. Those who contributed to these endeavors gained no equity ownership in the company seeking to raise funds. On Wednesday, the SEC issued more than 500 pages of  proposed rules, discussion and analysis that would permit companies to offer and sell securities by way of crowdfunding. The public now has 90 days to comment on the proposed rules. After reviewing the […]

By |October 25th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

North Carolina Set to Implement New Growler Laws

Updated and more specific growler laws take effect in North Carolina this Friday, October 25, 2013. The laws will allow retailers, such as bottle shops and grocery stores, to fill growlers up to two liters (approx. 68 ounces). Raleigh, NC’s News and Observer, however, reported that not all retail store owners were terribly excited about the implementation of the new laws. The report cites that the regulations will create issues with time and space. These issues arise as a result of the new sanitation and labeling requirements.

Let’s start with the new definition of “growler”. 04 NCAC 02T .0308 now defines a growler as “a refillable rigid glass, plastic, aluminum or stainless steel container with a flip-top or screw-on lid that is no larger than 2 liters (0.5283gallons) into which a malt beverage is prefilled, filled or refilled for off-premises consumption.” The words in bold are additions to the rule.

The […]

By |October 22nd, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Could Craft Brewers Take a Page from the NBA Lockout?

craft-beer-week-new-york-city-photo-ccDuring the recent NBA lockout, a number of the league’s stars found ways to stay at work by participating in charity games across the country and other summer league events.  Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony played in Oklahoma City and raised $100,000 for the Single Parents Support Network of Oklahoma City.  Durant, James, Anthony, Paul, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, John Wall and Amar’e Stoudemire got together in Miami to support Mary’s Court Foundation.  More stars met in Philadelphia, Minneapolis and San Jose, among other locations.

The situations are certainly different, craft brewers are not directly at odds with the federal government and the shutdown did not occur as a means of burdening the brewers.  But the result is similar.  Many craft brewers are left with innovative brews that cannot reach the consumers due to the cessation […]

By |October 16th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Label Approval – For the States, Federal Government or Both?

Earlier this year, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) clarified that neither a certificate of label approval (COLA) or a certificate of exemption is required for malt beverages that will not be shipped or delivered for sale or shipment into another state.  However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that if you plan to distribute your product only within your home state that you are automatically exempt.  Many states still rely on, and default to, the federal regulations and require TTB label approval.  Nor does it mean that it’s not best to seek label approval if you are in a state that does not require it.  This can however, play a role in the timing of when you may seek label approval.  For example, if you want to get a product on tap in your state quickly without waiting for label approval but you also want to check your […]

By |September 24th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

A Primer on Trademark Law and Recent Trademark Disputes in the Beer Industry

Please read the upcoming issue of American Brewer magazine for Ross’ article about how to best select your mark and avoid dispute.

When seeking trademark protection, it is important to begin with a distinctive mark. Trademark laws are designed to protect consumers from being confused about the source and affiliation of a given product or services. A consumer looking for a product build upon quality should not be tricked into purchasing goods or services that are confusingly similar to another that may simply be leeching off of the goodwill of the other. This also has the secondary effect of protecting the goodwill created by trademark owners that have built their business on quality.

Why Register?

—Federal registration is prima facie evidence of the registrant’s ownership of the mark. 15 U.S.C.S. § 1057(b). Federal registration of a mark constitutes constructive nationwide use of the mark from […]

By |August 12th, 2013|Blog|1 Comment

Protecting Your Brewery’s (or small business) Trade Secrets

ThreeBeersIf you work in a creative, competitive and/or highly specialized industry, you have confidential business information worthy of protecting from your competition.  Brewery operations require quite a bit of information (often shared with employees) that should be protected from misuse or misappropriation.  This information may include the obvious, such as your unique recipes and brewing process, and other business information such as sales and marketing tools and practices and customer lists.

Eventually, as your brewery or small business grows, you will have employees with access to recipes, processes and methods.  These issues should be addressed in employment agreements with non-compete and non-disclosure clauses.

In Florida, a non-compete agreement/covenant must be in writing and signed by the employee.  This is most simply accomplished by including it in the employment agreement. The existence of such a provision works to […]

By |August 1st, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

How Much Beer is Too Much? Florida Law says 64 Ounces is Too Much. 128 Ounces is Not?

craft-beer-week-new-york-city-photo-ccWhile small breweries around the country were providing consumers with new tastes and quality beer, Florida lagged behind.  Just as Florida lagged behind in the craft brew craze, Florida’s laws lag behind the rest of the country as Florida’s craft beer industry is burgeoning.  Specifically, Florida’s craft breweries can fill its consumers’ 32 ounce (1 quart) and 128 ounce (1 gallon) growlers ((A growler is a refillable container or jug into which tap beer is poured for home consumption.)), but any sizes in between are illegal.  That includes, of course, the 64 ounce growler, which also happens to be the industry’s standard size. ((The 64 ounce growler is also illegal in Utah.))

During Florida’s recently completed legislative session, a bill was introduced that would have legalized the 64 ounce growler.  The bill died in the Business & Professional Regulation Subcommittee.  Why?  (Lobbyists/Special Interests). […]

By |July 10th, 2013|Blog|Comments Off on How Much Beer is Too Much? Florida Law says 64 Ounces is Too Much. 128 Ounces is Not?

Addressing Widespread Seafood Fraud

Triggerfish

Recent studies by Oceana and others have alerted many consumers that they cannot be completely sure where the seafood on their plate came from or even what kind of fish is on their plate.  Earlier in the year, Oceana published the results of extensive testing and revealed that one-third of the seafood samples tested across the country were mislabeled.  Generally, consumers imagine restaurants and markets passing off mackerel as grouper or farmed salmon as wild salmon so they can charge the highest possible price.  Seafood fraud, however, includes a variety of other activities, such as over-breading prepared seafood products or packaging fish with too much ice to artificially increase the weight of seafood products to drive up the price.  Seafood fraud isn’t always employed merely as a means of simply passing costs along to the consumers.

For example, foreign seafood producers […]

By |July 8th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Court Considers SEC’s Unbundling Rules, Common Sense Abound

We recently had the occasion in our office to review a proxy statement that recommended certain amendments of a company’s certificate of incorporation.   This got us thinking about the SEC’s “unbundling” requirements.

ProxySampleAfter shortly rehashing the rule, we’ll happily move into quite a bit of plain English analysis.  First, Rule 14a-4(a)(3), requires that the form of proxy “shall identify clearly and impartially each separate matter intended to be acted upon, whether or not related to or conditioned on the approval of other matters.” 17 C.F.R. §240.14a-4(a)(3).  Rule 14a-4(b)(1) requires that shareholders have “an opportunity to specify by boxes a choice between approval or disapproval of, or abstention with respect to each separate matter referred to therein as intended to be acted upon.” 17 C.F.R. § 240.14a-4(b)(1).  Therefore, the “unbundling” rules “require distinct voting items on ‘each separate matter’” in a management proposal.  17 C.F.R. […]

By |July 3rd, 2013|Blog|0 Comments