Florida craft beer trademark registration is becoming a hot topic, as the industry has become increasingly competitive, with the number of small breweries nationally growing six-fold from 2008 to 2016, according to federal data. The trend continued through last year, with The Atlantic reporting the industry had ballooned to employ 70,000 workers – triple what it was a decade ago. The Brewers Association says small, independent brewers account for 99 percent of those in operation. In 2015, there were 2,397 microbreweries, 1,650 brewpubs and 178 regional craft breweries, with Florida being one of the fastest-growing for the industry.
Orlando trademark attorneys have been closely attuned to the growing number of industry clashes on trademark registration and trademark infringement. With more than 6,000 craft breweries now in the U.S., each producing multiple types of beer, that’s a lot of potential trademarks to file. Earlier this year, The Harvard Law Review published a report on “trademark depletion,” the process by which a decreasing number of trademark options remain unclaimed by anyone, and “trademark congestion,” the process by which a mark that’s already claimed is used by an increasing number of different trademark owners. The analysis concluded the number of good trademarks is finite and both trademark depletion and trademark congestion are having a big impact on many industries, one of the most notable being trademarks for beverages (and craft beer trademark registration in particular).
Clever beer trademarks are often some degree of snarky, whimsical, funny or a play-on-words. Problem is, there are only so many “ale” and “hops” puns to be made. Of course, craft brewers are nothing if not creative. It’s important when you’ve got really great brewery branding in place that you protect it with Florida craft beer trademark registration. This can usually fend off potential Orlando trademark lawsuits – or at least give you solid legal grounds on which to fight back if it comes to litigation. In those cases, craft beer companies with registered trademarks win out two ways: They can block other companies from capitalizing on their clever business branding and they protect themselves from allegations of trademark infringement by other firms.
By working with an Orlando craft beer trademark attorney, you preserve your brand and protect your investment.
Florida Craft Beer Trademark Registration Protects Small Business Owners
A Florida craft beer trademark registration dispute has been brewing in St. Petersburg, where a brewing company alleges in a federal lawsuit that a brew company in Michigan committed trademark infringement of its “Oval Beach Blonde Ale,” a name too similar to the “Beach Blonde Ale” plaintiffs trademarked and began selling five years ago. The Michigan brewer reportedly has a similar image of a blonde woman in a bikini on the label, but the color scheme was different. However, when the company started hawking its hops in Florida, the Michigan firm changed its colors to the exact same used by the St. Petersburg brewing company. Plaintiffs make a good case in the complaint that the similar packaging and name is likely to foster confusion among consumers, adversely impacting the Florida-based brewery’s sales. Plaintiffs seek $75,000 in damages.
But let’s say the Florida craft beer maker hadn’t registered their trademark. Would they be totally out-of-luck? Not necessarily. Common law trademark rights does offer some measure of protection for a company that operates with a certain mark exclusively for a period of time in a geographic region. Still, those rights are a bit murkier, which is why it’s a smart idea to register the mark, just to be safe and ensure your rights are clearly indicated.
An experienced Orlando trademark lawyer can help you research your trademarks (to ensure you aren’t breaching someone else’s registered craft beer trademark) and properly file all necessary documentation to keep your brewery’s branding secure – and business hopping.
Contact Orlando trademark attorney at The Chidolue Law Firm, serving Orlando and Lake Mary, by calling (407) 995-6567 or email us.
Craft Beer Is the Strangest, Happiest Economic Story in America, Jan. 19, 2018, By Derek Thompson, The Atlantic
More Blog Entries:
ORLANDO TRADEMARK ATTORNEY: SHOULD I TRADEMARK MY SLOGAN?, Nov. 22, 2018, Orlando Trademark Lawyer Blog