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Old 11-29-2012, 02:03 AM   #141
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In most cases I would fall on the side of the LHBS, but the fact that they chose "Strange Brew" and then try to assert their "rights" to it, the name doesn't work to me.

They didn't think of it to begin with, and if they're not careful the production company could squash them like a bug.

I could open "Star Wars Brew Supply" and if Lucas legal allowed me to survive (not), I would be foolish to try and C&D a place called "Star Wars Brewery".

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Old 11-29-2012, 02:45 AM   #142
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I'm interested in how this turns out. While I don't disagree that the LHBS needs to protect their 'mark' I do feel they're a bit in the 'pot calling the kettle black' situation. After all their name could be construed as a direct infringement on the movie Strange Brew. I also find it interesting that the LHBS felt it was ok to use a Grateful Dead Mark, in a commercial application. The fact that they've since removed it from their Facebook page, lends one to believe it wasn't properly licensed and they themselves were worried about infringing.

The further fact that they aren't actively pursuing any other people using a similar mark, and that they've waited until now, when they intend to open a brewery of their own will likely come into consideration should it go to court. In the end if they can't settle it out of court the lawyers will be the ones to benefit, and should one side win a judgement for court costs it could very feasibly bankrupt the losing party.

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Old 11-29-2012, 03:00 AM   #143
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I'm curious to see if the lawyer is pushing the case more than the shop owner.

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Old 11-29-2012, 03:21 AM   #144
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Some really good discussion on the legal issues in the thread on the AHA board on this.

Something I read, I think on that thread but maybe it was here, was that they had already received a few emails from internet customers in Colorado who thought the brewery was the same place. There's a brewery/homebrew shop combo in Aurora not too far from Denver so it's not an unusual thought for that area. So it seems like there already is some customer confusion.

Something else I read, again I think it was a link in the other thread, was that the brewery admitted to knowing about the homebrew shop and decided to proceed with the name anyway. Sounds like they decided to roll the dice on the legal ownership of the name and are going to lose.

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Old 11-29-2012, 04:29 AM   #145
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I guess considering the laws the LHBS has to defend it's name.

It is too bad that the public is so stupid it confuses Strange Brewing Co. in Colorado with Strange Brew Beer and Wine Making Supplies in Massachusetts.

Strange Brew's website = home-brew.com. It seems it would be difficult to confuse that with a craft brewery.

I am conflicted on this one. I feel for the Brewery because this is not an original name, the names seem to be enough different and there should not be much confusion over the companies. I also feel for the LHBS since they have apparently marketed beer in the past and plan to again. This could cause some confusion. I also feel their frustration when mistakes are made regarding shipping and credit. But I also wonder about how much of this happen with the other similarly named companies. Actually, was the credit problem with the brewery or some other similarly named company.

It is too bad this went public. I think the LHBS assumption that the brewery is the instigator might be far-fetched.

It is also too bad that the language used by the LHBS and their lawyer is so harsh. It does not put them in a good light.

And the reference to dozens of customers in Colorado just makes me laugh!

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Old 11-29-2012, 05:15 AM   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kh54s10 View Post
I guess considering the laws the LHBS has to defend it's name.

It is too bad that the public is so stupid it confuses Strange Brewing Co. in Colorado with Strange Brew Beer and Wine Making Supplies in Massachusetts.

Strange Brew's website = home-brew.com. It seems it would be difficult to confuse that with a craft brewery.

I am conflicted on this one. I feel for the Brewery because this is not an original name, the names seem to be enough different and there should not be much confusion over the companies. I also feel for the LHBS since they have apparently marketed beer in the past and plan to again. This could cause some confusion. I also feel their frustration when mistakes are made regarding shipping and credit. But I also wonder about how much of this happen with the other similarly named companies. Actually, was the credit problem with the brewery or some other similarly named company.

It is too bad this went public. I think the LHBS assumption that the brewery is the instigator might be far-fetched.

It is also too bad that the language used by the LHBS and their lawyer is so harsh. It does not put them in a good light.

And the reference to dozens of customers in Colorado just makes me laugh!
Please elaborate.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:05 PM   #147
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The further fact that they aren't actively pursuing any other people using a similar mark,
Who said they're not?
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:12 PM   #148
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It is too bad that the public is so stupid it confuses Strange Brewing Co. in Colorado with Strange Brew Beer and Wine Making Supplies in Massachusetts.
On the Internet, everybody is next door neighbors.

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Strange Brew's website = home-brew.com. It seems it would be difficult to confuse that with a craft brewery.
I disagree. I don't see it as too much of a stretch to mistakenly believe that a small craft brewery might also have a retail presence dedicated to selling homebrew supplies. I've long felt that a combination brewery-restaurant-homebrew retail business would be a great idea. A brewery that has its own appetite for malt and hops could negotiate even better wholesale pricing than a straight-up homebrew shop, resulting in better margins when retailing the ingredients to homebrewers. And the restaurant presence would lure in a new audience who might not otherwise have ever tasted your beer.

The simple fact is, the Strange Brew HBS had the name first, and while they might not currently brew any beer, they have to defend their name in case they ever did decide to enter that market space. As the legal owners of the name, that's their perogative. If they didn't defend the name, and allowed another brewery to establish a brewing operation under that name, then they'd effectively lose the option to ever use that name for brewing themselves.

Any fault here lies with the brewery. They should have done their homework.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:19 PM   #149
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Any single entity in the long list of places that have used strange brew before it was trademarked can invalidate the Trademark.
Only if they used it in the same market space (home brew shop), BEFORE the home brew store (15+ years ago?). Having a coffee shop, halloween costume store, or concert promotion company doesn't count.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:24 PM   #150
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I just checked the records in the USPTO (Patent and Trademark Office) and the HBS trademark is for "retail stores" and "beer". No mention of brewing.
Uhm.... how do you get "beer" without "brewing?" 'Cause if you know how, you could save me A TON of time.

I think it's a no-brainer that the general public associates beer and a homebrew shop. It's clearly the same market space. The brewery doesn't have a leg to stand on here, this is an open-and-shut case. I feel bad for the brewery, because all the money they've spent establishing their brand is going to go waste as they start from scratch with a new name, but honestly, it's their own fault. It sounds like they have broad support in their community, from both their customers and even fellow breweries. I'm sure they'll be fine.

Put yourself in the shoes of the LHBS owner. He's spent a decade and a half building his business - why shouldn't he protect the name? To be a nice guy?
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