I have two loves in my life (other than my family of course): American muscle cars and craft beer. Some might even say beer alone. Recently, my love for craft beer has made its way into my work in the form of craft beer trademarks.
My interest in craft beer has grown since breweries have been creating amazing beers, be it in basements or small-scale breweries such as our client Broadhead. In addition to great beers, these brewers are coming up with great branding and trademarks. Long gone are the bland labels of the past when a generic name and a colour would suffice. Nowadays the brand is just as important as the beer. So it follows that craft beer trademarks are increasingly important, as brands are increasingly imaginative, and brewers are coming up with great trademarks such as UNDERDOG or another one of my favourites HOPBOT.
But through the creation of these craft beer trademarks, small brewers are facing issues protecting their brands.
In an ideal world all trademarks, slogans, and marks would be filed for and registered. However, I know financial considerations have to be made and registering trademarks is not necessarily a top priority for new businesses.
That being said, I have come up with some tips to secure these trademark rights in informal ways.
For example, an easy fix is placing a simple TM on all trademarks used by the brewers. The placement of TM on your trademarks indicates you are claiming rights to this trademark and conveys a knowledge of trademark rights. A lot of companies, including small brewers, believe such an indication cannot be placed without a trademark being registered.
This is not the case.
The TM is an indication of your rights once you have started using the trademark in association with your product. The use of a trademark only starts when a product has been sold with the trademark associated with the product. There has to be a sale. So a single sale of a tasty beer can, bottle, or pint establishes rights to the trademark from the date of that first sale.
Like I said, I love craft beer and I am passionate about helping small breweries grow their business. So stay tune more tips to come…
Follow us on LinkedIn for regular updates from the world of Intellectual Property and Business Law.