With the explosion of new breweries in Minnesota and elsewhere around the country, we are seeing overlap in the names given to breweries and their beers. This has resulted in trademark disputes as breweries attempt to build and protect their brands.
While breweries gain some common law trademark rights by using their brewery and beer names in commerce, many fall short of gaining the additional protections and benefits afforded by federal trademark registration.
Federal trademark registration can be a relatively inexpensive and straightforward process, but there are many pitfalls that an experienced trademark attorney can help a brewery to avoid.
When breweries learn that their brewery name, or beer name, is being used by someone else, typically the first step is for an attorney to send a cease and desist letter to the offending brewery. If the cease and desist letter is ineffective, the aggrieved party will need to consider filing a lawsuit in federal court.