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Beer naming and the potential for trademark troubles

Large and rapid growth in an industry can create some unique challenges for the companies in it. One is the possibility of increased chances for trademark disputes.

This can be seen in one of the issues that has come up in the craft brewing industry in the wake of the major increase in the number of microbreweries out there. This issue regards naming beers.

There are various things microbreweries often turn to when it comes to naming their beers. This includes puns and local landmarks or specialties. However, with the number of microbreweries and craft beers increasing, the number of puns, local references and names that haven’t already been used is dwindling.

In this environment, there can be an increased risk of breweries stepping on each other’s feet when it comes to beer names. Dustups over beer names could potentially trigger trademark litigation, as product names are among the things trademark law touches on.

So, exercising care when picking beer names can be very important for today’s microbreweries. In your opinion, what are some of the best methods for coming up with unique product names?

There are many different ways a company could respond when a dispute comes up over the name of one of its products. What type of responses would be most appropriate depends on the circumstances and the business’ overall goals. Microbreweries or other companies that have run into legal issues over product names may want to go over the available legal options with a skilled business litigation attorney.

Source: WTSP, “Troubles could brew over beer names, puns,” Tess Sheets, Aug. 7, 2016

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