Brew-HaHa Over Craft Beer Trademarks
As of June 2014, the American brewing industry hit a big milestone with more than 3,000 operating US breweries. This recent expansion not only signifies an increase in locally brewed delicacies, but it also means that brewers will find it increasingly difficult to differentiate their brew from that of their fellow brewmasters. In order to stand out in this sea of bottles, brewers often use clever names for their brews. However, be it a “hopcentric” pun or a “barley-legal” nickname, it is increasingly difficult to find a clever name for a new brew while avoiding a legal trademark battle.
Hartford’s own City Steam Brewery recently settled a trademark battle over the branding on its bottled beer. Anchor Brewing Co., based in California, filed suit against City Steam, in a case that ultimately led to a seemingly minute settlement agreement. City Steam will now market its beer under the one-word “CitySteam” name instead of the original “City Steam.” Another local, New England Brewing Company recently received a petition from an attorney in India over their highly popular brew, “Gandhi Bot”, claiming that this vegetarian, aromatic India Pale Ale, is “nothing but an insult to the Indian constitution!”