craft beer trademark

Should Florida Breweries Be Selling to Fellow Breweries?

Breweries are no longer sparsely scattered throughout the state. We are seeing concentrations of breweries flourishing in the Tampa/Saint Petersburg area, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, neighborhoods in Miami and soon Tallahassee. As the number of breweries in Florida grows and areas become more concentrated with breweries, those breweries may consider selling their beer directly to one another, rather than using a distributor for such sales.

Florida Statute §561.42(1) focuses on the tied house evil and prevents integration between the tiers. Florida Statute §561.22 performs a similar function as it prohibits the licensing of a manufacturer or distributor as a vendor and vice versa. Meanwhile, Florida Statute §561.14, in its description of license and registration classifications, notes that manufacturers are “licensed to manufacture alcoholic beverages and distribute the same at wholesale to licensed distributors and to no one else within the state, unless authorized by statute.”

The statute that authorizes manufacturers to distribute to […]

By |August 26th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Check out Ross’ Latest Publication on the Craft Beer Industry and Trademark Law – Worry Wort: A Path to Acquiring Trademark Rights in the Craft Brewing Industry

Check out Ross’ latest article, titled: Worry Wort: A Path to Acquiring Trademark Rights in the Craft Brewing Industry. It appears in Volume XXIV, Book 4 of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal.

http://iplj.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/C04_Appel_R1.pdf

The article discusses the manner in which trademark law functions, focusing upon the statutory definition of “use in commerce” and related case law developments. It examines the legal framework as it applies in the craft beer context and analyzes an illustrative legal dispute and considers the effect in time, money and frustration that trademark disputes can have on small craft brewery owners.  It also analyzes the early life-cycle of two upstart brewers to demonstrate that rights in a mark must accrue, in certain circumstances, prior to any sales activity.  It further examines the manner in which rights in a mark are acquired in the pharmaceutical industry, where the time from development to marketing launch […]

By |July 15th, 2014|Blog, News|0 Comments

Craft Beer: Franchise Laws Need Not Apply

Franchise laws, as applied to the  craft beer industry, have the negative potential of restricting the possibilities for growth (small brewers may avoid expanding into a test market because they will first have to tie themselves to a distributor forever) and allowing distributors to hold breweries to a relationship that is neither healthy nor profitable for either party.

Franchise laws were viewed as a necessity a few decades after Prohibition, when few breweries remained operational. Those that remained were generally doing the uninteresting: mass-producing uniformly flavored beer. However, the efficiency of these breweries came at the expense of flavor and creativity and would put many smaller breweries out of business. This led to a great deal of consolidation in the beer industry and ultimately led to the existence of several large breweries with power to influence the policies of the next tier of the distribution system, the distributors themselves. It was […]

By |June 12th, 2014|Blog|1 Comment

Ross Worked With BeverageTradeNetwork on a Recent Article about Craft Beer Label Design and Requirements

Please click on the following link on BeverageTradeNetwork to read the recent article in which Ross was consulted regarding craft beer label design. The article discusses the process and requirements for label approval, prohibited content on malt beverage labels and why you might consider plans for brewery expansion when designing a label. Let us know if you have any questions or comments!

http://beveragetradenetwork.com/en/article-base/craft-beer-label-design-how-to-adhere-to-state-and-federal-law-and-get-your-labels-approved–351.htm

By |June 9th, 2014|Blog, News|0 Comments

Trademark Series: The Doctrine of Foreign Equivalents

From time to time, we run into proposed trademarks that are in another language. This generally starts a conversation about the doctrine of foreign equivalents. The doctrine of foreign equivalents requires that foreign words be translated into English to determine if there is a likelihood of consumer confusion with a mark already registered or to determine if the applied-for mark is descriptive or generic. When applicants apply for a mark in a different language, they are expected to provide the translation of the mark or else the examining attorney will seek the relevance of the applied-for mark.

There is often question about when the doctrine is applied.  It’s applied when the “ordinary American purchaser” would “stop and translate” the foreign wording in a mark. That isn’t terribly helpful on its own.  It has been clarified that the “ordinary American purchaser” isn’t the average American, but rather is […]

By |April 18th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Komlossy Law, P.A.’s Ross Appel was Featured in Two Recent Articles About Craft Beer Trademarks

Please click on the following links to read recent articles in which Ross was consulted regarding craft beer trademark issues.

As the Craft-Beer Industry Grows, So Does the Battle for Branding – Ross discussed, with David Minsky of the Broward/Palm Beach New Times, the need for trademark owners to use their mark in commerce and to police their rights. He also talked about the prevalence of cease-and-desist letters in the brewing industry and touched upon geographically descriptive trademarks.

Trademark dispute brewing over use of ‘Nitro’ – Ross talked with Eric Gorski of the Denver Post about Left Hand Brewing Company’s attempt to trademark the term “Nitro” as it applies to beer and what a federally registered trademark for NITRO would empower and obligate Left Hand to do.

By |March 20th, 2014|News|0 Comments

Don’t pay an attorney just to file your trademark application(s).

BeerPhoto

I recently reviewed a listing of applied-for trademarks which demonstrate that many attorneys are clearly not providing their clients with substantive information regarding whether their marks are likely to register and why/why not.  Many attorneys clearly don’t take the time to discuss the trademark process with their clients.  They don’t seem to provide information regarding other marks in existence that may be cited in a refusal based upon a likelihood of confusion.  They don’t seem to explain that a descriptive mark cannot be reserved using an intent to use application or that if that mark is eventually put to use, the effective date will switch to the date it is placed in use rather than the date the application is filed (and thus falling behind any later-filed marks).  After seeing a number of these marks that suggest a […]

By |March 12th, 2014|Blog, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Florida Beer Compromise?

With the legislative session underway and the insulting HB 1329 filed, now is probably a good time to look at the other malt beverage bills out there to see what they are up to. HB 1329, filed on Monday, may have the affect of being so utterly ridiculous that it diverts attention from the other malt beverage bills. Those bills are likely to get some edits and turn into “compromises”.  HB 7075 may be that compromise. The folks behind the drafting of the Big Beer Bill may hope they can have people “look over there” while unfavorable changes are made to the other malt beverage bills.

Here is a rundown:

HB 7075 – The “Compromise” Bill to HB 1329? (filed last Friday, February 28. 2014)

  • Allows self-distribution of up to 3,000 gallons
  • Allows for a “taproom” on the brewery premises without the need for a separate vendor’s license
  • Brewers could sell their own […]
By |March 6th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

The Big Beer Bill to Stifle Florida Craft Beer was Filed in the House

The bill we knew was coming (“Big Beer Bill”) in the aftermath of the self serving comments from Eric Criss just a month ago was filed in the Florida House of Representatives yesterday.  Criss is president of Beer Industry of Florida, Inc., a Tallahassee-based trade association of Florida’s largest beer distributors.

Criss (not so) implicitly gave the beer distributors credit for drunk driving fatalities, arrests and convictions dropping.  He added that it was the three tier system that followed prohibition and the role of distributors that helped curb social problems such as high-volume drinking, domestic violence and worse (credit to him for an attempt to instill fear in the hearts of unsuspecting readers that have not yet reached the part of the article that says who he is and why he is writing the piece).  Of course, the misplaced argument fails to mention that other laws […]

By |March 4th, 2014|Blog|15 Comments