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Thread: Brewery Name Duplication

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6

    Brewery Name Duplication

    We are about to open our doors (late October), and have noticed a brewery using a very similar name to ours appear on Facebook. We are (ourname) Brewhaus and they are (samename) Brewing Company. We are in different states, about 1500 miles apart. I spoke to them on the phone today and they were content with a simple agreement saying we wouldn't overlap distribution areas. We are going to be taproom sales only now, but may grow into distribution later. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot and want to make sure my brand is protected. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    317
    Choose a different name.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6
    Thanks for the reply Thirsty_Monk. I wish it were that easy. How damaging would it be for us to co-exist if both are selling in our respective states alone?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Minocqua WI
    Posts
    803
    I would try for The friendly agreement. Use a lawyer though to make sure the contract is good.
    Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company
    tbriggs@minocquabrewingcompany.com
    "Your results may vary"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    97
    Any attorney will tell you to stay away from the name. Whose to say either your brewery or the disputed brewery will eventually distribute within the same territories. Keep your name as your legal name and use a dba. Trademark the dba and protect yourself. With an increasingly congested market filled with new brewers who may not play by the same etiquette Brewers have in the past. You don't want to find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Waste of time and money in addition to the damage it will do to your reputation regardless of the verdict.

    James

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    109
    I say change it, as well.

    In addition to the legal matters already addressed, what happens if they make really crappy beer? Do you want potential customers turned away because of some other brewery's bad reputation?

    -Mike

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6
    Everything you all are saying makes sense. Except, if I am already opening and he hasn't began construction or licensing shouldn't he be the one to change names? He has a Facebook page with 7 likes as the only link to the name in question at this point. I'm not ready to revise my entire brand strategy based on a Facebook page and plans alone.

    My understanding about trademarks and such is that I have to be actually in interstate commerce or commerce in his area in order for me to have any ground to have a cease and desist or something of that nature. Both of those are a few years away for me, at least.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Long Island City, NY
    Posts
    32
    You need to speak to a Lawyer ASAP. Legally you can't trademark a name until its in commercial use so u should trade mark yours ASAP then issue a cease and desist if and when they open.

    Brendan M. Palfreyman is a great source of info about this stuff www.trademarkyourbeer.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6
    I wanted to take a second to thank everyone that has responded for doing so. I also wanted to make it known to anyone going through this same process that the trademark office has what is called an "Intent to Use" trademark that can be filed before one uses their mark in commerce (so it can be trademarked before you open) and is followed up with a statement of use once you are open.

    I have taken the wise recommendations to speak with an attorney familiar with business law, and specifically breweries and trademarks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    957
    The confusion from your customers and on social media will be a royal pain. Worked for a brewery in a town with another brewery by a very similar name it was a nightmare for consumers and we tried negotiating with them and eventually bit the bullet and rebranded. Have not looked back.
    Joel Halbleib
    COO / Zymurgist
    Goodwood Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    goodwood.beer

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