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Old 11-14-2012, 02:48 PM   #91
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It seems a bit malicious on the hbs part to open a brewery under the same name as one that has already gotten medals in a national competition. Would they not be doing the exact thing they claim the brewery did? Even if it is legal it certainly isn't right to attempt to cash in on someone else's reputation.

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Old 11-14-2012, 03:52 PM   #92
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Default Strange Brew faces trademark threat from Colorado brewery

Attention loyal customers, friends of Strange Brew, and others who care to hear the whole story and who care about the truth.


As you may have recently heard, Strange Brew is in the midst of a trademark dispute with a small two year old start-up microbrewery in Colorado that “coincidentally” has decided to call itself “Strange Brewing Company.” Simply put, they are trying to profit from the valuable reputation and the good will that we have built up over the last 16 years in our brand. They have admitted they knew of us and our name when they started, but apparently they thought they would just slip under the radar. We have demanded that they stop, but instead of facing up to the situation, they have decided to “fight back” by stirring up a social media lynch mob, trashing us and our lawyer for protecting our brand. This has included several media posts that contain a completely inaccurate distortion of the real situation. This is becoming a distraction and it is time to set the record straight. Enough is enough.

Draw any conclusions you want, but please don’t do so until you have all the facts. Please consider the following.

Strange Brew LLC. in Marlborough Massachusetts is a small, family owned business, that has been in existence since 1997. We are a “local business” just like Strange Brewing Company. We sell quality products, just like they do. We have worked hard for years to provide quality home-brewing supplies and brewing advice to the local, national, and international brewing community. We currently hold a federal trademark for both beer, and beer and winemaking supplies. We are, in short, no bigger than the folks in Denver, the only difference is that we have been around for almost two decades, selling quality products and slowly building a valuable brand. We have taken the right steps to protect our brand, like any other well run business, and for that we are now being branded as bullies. We sell supplies through a number of retail, and online outlets, including dozens of current customers in Colorado, a place that has become one of the standout microbrewery capitals of the country, and we’re proud to be a part of it.

We are also currently in the process of opening a small brewery in Massachusetts. Through the years we have also sold beer products, and we are now focused on expanding that division as our business continues to grow.

Strange Brewing Co. has admitted that they were aware of us when they started their own business using our name. They have stated their belief that due to our geographic distance, and the fact that they only sell beer, not beer supplies, there should be no reason to complain. Here is the problem. First, like it or not, their decision to copy our name is causing confusion. We live in a wireless, digital age where geographic factors are more irrelevant each day. The fact that we are on the East Coast is meaningless. We continually do business with our Colorado customers, and have repeatedly had customers, both from Colorado and elsewhere, comment to us that they tried “our beer” in Denver. Some of our vendors and suppliers have also been confused, and in a couple of cases we were unable to purchase supplies on credit because of a negative credit reference that arose after payments were mistakenly applied to the wrong account, due to the similarity in our names. Finally, we have been unfairly portrayed as trying to “steal” their name, as if this is a David and Goliath scenario in which we are some corporate giant, like Starbucks or Coca-Cola, mercilessly picking on the little guy. That’s just not the case. They try to portray us as thieves – but who is the real thief here? The ones who have been around since 1997 or the ones who decided to copy our brand less than two years ago, instead of doing it the old fashioned way and coming with a brand of their own? Who is stealing from whom?

We have to protect our assets, just like any small business trying to make it in today’s world. We have struggled hard to get where we are, not through harassing our competitors with some social media rant, but through selling good products and backing up our brand. We would be disloyal to our customers and our families if we didn’t try to protect what we have earned. To maintain OUR federal trademark rights, we cannot allow another similar business to use our name and hijack the good will we have earned.

We were forced to hire a lawyer and send a cease and desist letter to the infringing company.

Knowing that they have no legal defense here, Strange Brewing Company in Colorado has decided, rather than to face up to the mistake they made, to start a social media war, hoping that they can beat us into submission. Fortunately, the U.S. system of justice is not about popularity contests, or who is better at sending anonymous (but easily traceable) hate mail through web portals. It is based on application of the law to the facts, and in this case, if necessary, a court is going to find that the Strange Brewing Company has infringed our trademark rights. It’s that simple. They claim that they want to avoid a costly legal battle and collaborate, but their only offer has been to allow us to clone their recipe kits. How exactly is that fair? They copy our valuable name, and then “offer” to let us sell their product? Seriously? We too would prefer to spend our time and money doing something besides going to court, but if that is the only offer on the table, then thanks but no thanks. We have to, and will, protect our brand and the 16-year investment we have made, and we are tired of playing games.

I do not personally know the people from Strange Brewing Company. I am sure that they make good beer, and work hard and they obviously have a loyal following, but the issue of integrity and personal responsibility seems somehow to have been lost. I was ready to assume that they were also ‘nice guys’ but I question their approach to dealing with this clear-cut legal matter. They have posted our privileged legal communications in an attempt to paint themselves as the victim here. Not so – if there is a victim here it is us, not them. The local Denver press seems to have picked up on this as well, but so far not one of the journalists has bothered to get our side of the story or even attempt to get their facts straight.

‘Someone’ started a Facebook page called ‘Keep Strange Brewing Strange’ in support of the company that is currently infringing upon our trademark. This campaign is picking up steam, and spreading slanderous, hateful speech, which is causing damage to the brand that we have spent decades building.

We were forced to temporarily suspend our Facebook page while we deal with the barrage of untrue and hateful comments about Strange Brew. The site is back up now, but our Yelp rating is dropping fast. Please don’t let this happen. We also invite you to come sample our products as well, and maybe you will understand the reputation we have worked so hard to earn.

While I am always hesitant to ask for help, I don’t think I can handle this alone.

Any support you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Brian Powers

Strange Brew Beer and Beer and Winemaking Supplies

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Old 11-14-2012, 04:58 PM   #93
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Why didn't you come up with your own name instead of using an already existing and popular name? (Song and Movie)

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Old 11-14-2012, 05:11 PM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strange-brew View Post
Attention loyal customers, friends of Strange Brew, and others who care to hear the whole story and who care about the truth.

...
awesome, let me go get some pop corn, this is gonna be an awesome thread from now on
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:28 PM   #95
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I've been watching this all unfold over the past week, and while I do see that SB in MA have a legal right to the name, I don't think their response to SB in CO has been received very well in the Craft/Home brew circles.

I understand that the HB shop is looking to get into brewing and feels that there could be confusion with two breweries having similar names. See what I did there? Similar. As silly as it may seem, there is a difference between Strange Brew and Strange Brewing. The HB shop really should have taken the offer to collaborate a little more serioulsy. That, I feel, is where they really messed up.

I agree that "offering clone kits at your store" is not a reasonable concession. But to simply refute this as insulting or "not to mention offensive" was a bad move, made painfully obvious by the backlash they have received via social networking. Something could have been, and should have been worked out. But it looks like it's too late for that.

Or is it?

BTW, I didn't even mention the irony of the TM infringement from the band Cream, the Movie by the Mckenzie brothers or the Grateful Dead, which I think is the funniest part of this whole thing...

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Old 11-14-2012, 05:34 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunnright00 View Post
I've been watching this all unfold over the past week, and while I do see that SB in MA have a legal right to the name, I don't think their response to SB in CO has been received very well in the Craft/Home brew circles.

I understand that the HB shop is looking to get into brewing and feels that there could be confusion with two breweries having similar names. See what I did there? Similar. As silly as it may seem, there is a difference between Strange Brew and Strange Brewing. The HB shop really should have taken the offer to collaborate a little more serioulsy. That, I feel, is where they really messed up.

I agree that "offering clone kits at your store" is not a reasonable concession. But to simply refute this as insulting or "not to mention offensive" was a bad move, made painfully obvious by the backlash they have received via social networking. Something could have been, and should have been worked out. But it looks like it's too late for that.

Or is it?

BTW, I didn't even mention the irony of the TM infringement from the band Cream, the Movie by the Mckenzie brothers or the Grateful Dead, which I think is the funniest part of this whole thing...
So, you think I'd get away with starting a new company with the name "Boston Brew Company"? What about "Dogfish Heads"? It's different so it's okay, right?

Still causes confusion. It doesn't have to be exactly the same to be a violation.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:49 PM   #97
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Why didn't you come up with your own name instead of using an already existing and popular name? (Song and Movie)
Very good question.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:53 PM   #98
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It sounds like they started craft brewing a few years before you decided to get into that business. There really isn't much potential for confusion when it's a homebrew shop out east and a brewery way out west; if an occasional shipment is misdirected, that's because of a mistake on your suppliers part. But, I'm not going to the brewery to buy homebrew suppliers, or to the homebrew shop to buy a cold pint.

But, now that YOU are deciding to become a craft brewery, there's confusion. Which... forget the technicalities of the trademark laws for a second (which are highly effed up)... the only real confusion is because you're essentially infringing on their territory (beer making, not selling supplies).

And yeah, as I was joking about with my Doug and Bob McKenzie post earlier... it isn't a particularly unique name at all.

EDIT:

Quote:
We currently hold a federal trademark for both beer, and beer and winemaking supplies.
So, you've been holding the federal trademark for "Strange Brew," as it relates specifically to selling beer, for the better part of two decades? And you haven't done anything with that aspect of it until now (only the sale of supplies, which is a completely tangential business)?

Seems like ™-squatting to me.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:01 PM   #99
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Objection, you can not split pleas like that. Two bowls of split plea soup to go, eh.

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Old 11-14-2012, 06:13 PM   #100
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So, you think I'd get away with starting a new company with the name "Boston Brew Company"? What about "Dogfish Heads"? It's different so it's okay, right?

Still causes confusion. It doesn't have to be exactly the same to be a violation.
you could if you're not in direct competition
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