Boston Beer

The Geographically Descriptive Trademark

I was recently in Boston and had some great beer. Something I saw on that trip and then a discussion I had with David Minsky of the Broward/Palm Beach New Times inspired this article. David and I spoke about the recent trend of cease-and-desist letters in the brewing industry and whether it may soon affect South Florida’s breweries that are seeking to trademark names like Miami Pale Ale and Miami Brewing Company. As I drove through a few towns north of Boston, I passed Boston Beer Works and thought people might assume that Boston Beer Company, the company behind Sam Adams and Angry Orchard, was also behind Boston Beer Works. Boston Beer didn’t want people thinking that was the case. It sued Boston Beer Works twenty years ago for trademark infringement. I’ll get to that. First, some background on the relevant law.

Trademarks may fall within four categories with respect […]

By |January 3rd, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

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