Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Trademark Beerpocalypse!

The term "Apocalypse" has been the source of multiple disputes between craft breweries lately. The parties involved in the various disputes are:

Apocalypse Brewing Co.: an Oregon brewery.

Apocalypse Brew Works: a Kentucky brewery.

10 Barrel Brewing: distributes a beer called Apocalypse IPA.
10 Barrel Apocalypse IPA

Drake's Brewing Co.: distributes a beer called Hopocalypse.

(1). 10 Barrel Brewing vs. Apocalypse Brewing Co.
Both breweries are located in Oregon: 10 Barrel is in Bend; Apocalypse Brewing is about 175 miles away in Medford. 10 Barrel is one of the top selling breweries in Oregon. Apocalypse Brewing is a new brewery, having just opened in September 2012.

10 Barrel sells a beer named Apocalypse IPA, which it has apparently been selling since 2009. Upon learning of the new brewery's name in February 2012, 10 Barrel sent a cease and desist letter to Apocalypse Brewing.

In response, Apocalypse Brewing argued that the term "Apocalypse" was already used by many other breweries and therefore, no one brewery could claim exclusive rights to the term. Apparently, after some back-and-forth between the attorneys, the parties stopped communicating. 

Then, in June 2013, 10 Barrel renewed its objection. A few months later, Apocalypse Brewing decided to change its name. "[h]aving been out-lawyered and out-spent by the corporate juggernaut that is 10 Barrel Brewing." Perhaps drawing inspiration from its battle with 10 Barrel, the new name they chose was Opposition Brewing Company.

See: http://bit.ly/1gH2MSw

(2) Drake's Brewing Co. vs. Apocalypse Brew Works and
(3) 10 Barrel Brewing vs. Apocalypse Brew Works

Drake's Brewing Co. is a California based craft brewery. It sells a beer named Hopocalypse, and it owns a federal trademark registration for the HOPOCALYPSE mark.

10 Barrel, as noted above, is a Oregon based brewery that sells a beer named Apocalypse IPA.

Apocalypse Brew Works is a Louisville based brewery that opened in May 2012. In June 2013, it filed a federal trademark application for the mark APOCALYPSE BREW WORKS. The application was approved by the Trademark Office and published for opposition in November 2013.

In December, both 10 Barrel and Drake's filed extensions of time to oppose the APOCALYPSE BREW WORKS application. Each party now has until March to file an opposition. Presumably the parties will now engage in settlement discussions in an effort to resolve the dispute.

See: http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?qs=85971069

These cases provide a good example of the types of disputes that can arise in the trademark area. The first was a dispute between two parties over use of the same mark. The second and third are potential disputes over registration of a mark, with one involving a nearly identical mark that is not registered, and the other involving an arguably similar mark that is registered. 

It is also interesting to note that there are a number of other "Pocalypse" formative marks being used by others in connection with beer, including:

SNOWPOCALYPSE SCOTCH ALE: Name of a beer sold by Smokehouse Brewpub, which is located in Minneapolis. Smokehouse Brewpub filed a federal trademark application for the mark in December 2012. The application is still going through the examination process.

APOCALYPSE COW:  Name of a beer sold by Three Floyds Brewing, which is located in Indiana. Three Floyds filed a federal trademark application for the mark in 2010, and it proceeded to registration in 2011.

EPOCHALYPSE: The name of a brewery in Rochester, NY. It filed a federal trademark application for the mark in 2012, and it proceeded to registration in 2013.

ALEPOCALYPSE: Planned name of a beer that will be sold by a new Atlanta based brewery, Southern Sky Brewing Co. Southern Sky filed a federal trademark application for the mark, which was published for opposition in August 2013. No opposition was filed. Therefore, the application will proceed to registration after Southern Sky begins using the mark and files an acceptable statement of use with the Trademark Office.

APOCALYPSE ALE WORKS: The name of a brewery in Forest, VA.

1 comment:

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