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How specific are trademarks/names?

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  • How specific are trademarks/names?

    A winery has a registered trademark for one word for one wine they produced from 2009-2013. That Wine is very specific to an area and not distributed. I would like to use that word as the name of my brewery such as "xxxxxxx Brewing". Their trademark is filed under Classes 047 and 049, which specifically read Red Wine and Wine respectively, on the Trademark site. As far as I can tell this would be the only issue with my choosen name.

    I realize this may be a question for my attorney but I thought I might get some thoughts from everyone before heading that way in case its a simple matter. Just like to know if there is even a shot in the dark that I would be able to use this without having to deal with all the issues that could arise.


  • #2
    Why don't you phone them up and ask them?

    If they're militant about protecting their brand then ask your lawyer if there's anything you can do, but it's been my experience that a friendly chat over the phone can iron out many sticky issues just like yours.


    • #3
      Bear in mind that the USPTO generally considers all alcohol to be a similar product for their purposes so it doesn't much matter that they are registered in the wine class.

      Could always call them. Maybe they are idiots and somehow cool with it. Then get it in writing.

      If they are not idiots, but they also don't intend to use the brand anymore, maybe you could offer then a small chest of doubloons or something for it. Or promise in writing not to sell within whatever geographical area you all agree upon.

      Finally, as you said it was area specific, remember that geographical terms are weak trademarks. Just something to think about.
      Russell Everett
      Co-Founder / Head Brewer
      Bainbridge Island Brewing
      Bainbridge Island, WA


      • #4
        The best way to resolve this issue another name for your brewery it will be cheaper in the long run, even if granted permission from the winner. It will save you having issues down the road. What happens when that winery sells out, or changes hands, becomes successful and goes world wide...etc...just my .02 cents IMHO Cheers