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Old 11-29-2012, 05:44 PM   #161
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I think that's probably exactly what happened bird. This is the reason I think many people on this thread are inclining toward support for the brewery--seems like the kind of thing that could be solved with a phone call to the supplier to straighten out their crossed wires, rather than a huffy C&D letter. Right or wrong (on legal grounds), the LHBS comes across to me as the aggressor here, while the brewery seems to be trying to de-escalate.

As I said before, the legality of the issue is a matter which I'm not qualified to judge, but the optics of it don't look great for the LHBS.
To back up the theory that a screwed up delivery may have been at fault, I used to manage golf course in a small town with two of them. One was easy to find, on the main drag. The course I managed wasn't. Had several deliveries, even booze and players, end up at the other club. The names were not even similar......

My opinion is the whole story is lame, but I don't get the whole "pursuing legal avenues" culture. Sounds like dude in Mass didn't do a very good job forming his brand if he thinks customers would confuse his with a different business on the other side of the country with a similar name....
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:48 PM   #162
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I'm kind of feeling like driving over to Marlborough with a mouse in a bottle and asking for free beer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3DYbE44OIE

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Old 11-29-2012, 08:30 PM   #163
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As a business owner, I can agree with protecting one's investment in trademark and copyrights. It is unfortunate that it comes at a time when the HBS wants to expand into brewing and only after CO based brewery has received some accolades. I also know tha if HBS were to pursue matters legally, a C&D usually means that the Plaintiff will need to be able to cover any lost sales for the defendant. You will see a lot of legal documents floating around. A letter from a lawyer is more scare tactic and comes at a relatively low cost. A lawsuit would end up doing more financial damage to all parties unless one of them has real deep pockets.

Now, this issue hits close to home as I try to diversify my business. For several months I checked availibility of a domain. It had been available each time I looked, maybe three instances. When I finally rememebered to register it, I find that another individual registered it ten days prior. Holy F! WTF! If you sleep on it, someone else will jump on it. I have since added one word to the domain name and registered it. I hope that the owner of my original domain is just squatting on it. I would hate to develop my business and grow the name if I find myself in a similar situation to the aforementioned litigants, two years later.

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Old 11-29-2012, 10:21 PM   #164
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I just spoke with a lawyer friend about this. Although he admits that he is not a trademark lawyer, his insights are still pretty enlightening. He said that he would estimate litigation costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to get this in front of a federal judge. Even if it's tens of thousands of dollars, I don't think either of these companies have the money to sustain anything like that. He said that it would come down to the one side willing to spend more money winning or a settlement option. Either way the only ones who really win are the lawyers.

It's definitely fun to debate the merits of the claims though. I personally am on the side of Strange Brewing because I like their beer and the idea that they are competing with a home brew shop in Massachusettes is laughable.

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Old 11-29-2012, 10:29 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by ReverseApacheMaster View Post
Some really good discussion on the legal issues in the thread on the AHA board on this.
Thanks for the tip on the AHA board. Some equally interesting reading over there.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:24 AM   #166
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I just spoke with a lawyer friend about this. Although he admits that he is not a trademark lawyer, his insights are still pretty enlightening. He said that he would estimate litigation costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to get this in front of a federal judge. Even if it's tens of thousands of dollars, I don't think either of these companies have the money to sustain anything like that. He said that it would come down to the one side willing to spend more money winning or a settlement option. Either way the only ones who really win are the lawyers.

It's definitely fun to debate the merits of the claims though. I personally am on the side of Strange Brewing because I like their beer and the idea that they are competing with a home brew shop in Massachusettes is laughable.
I agree that neither side really would have the money to fund a legal battle but what is the cost of sending a C&D letter? $1000 tops? If that had got the response the LHBS had wanted then that would have been it = no $100,000+ legal fees.
And maybe that is what game the brewery is playing, calling the bluff. Only time will tell (unless something has happened since I haven't been watching )
As I said before I see this is not an open and shut case and both sides have some arguments to fight with.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:38 AM   #167
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I agree that neither side really would have the money to fund a legal battle but what is the cost of sending a C&D letter? $1000 tops? If that had got the response the LHBS had wanted then that would have been it = no $100,000+ legal fees.
I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Both brands are established. It's a little naive (from Strange Brew) to think that a brewery that has won two medals at GABF in two years is going to simply change it's name because of a C&D letter. People know the name now and changing their name will cost them the two years it has taken to get their name out and recognized. They are at the very beginning of the legal posturing and this stupid trademark dispute will leave both places broke if they don't come to an agreement very soon.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:51 AM   #168
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I've long felt that a combination brewery-restaurant-homebrew retail business would be a great idea.
http://surfbrewery.com/ is one, it's great, and the prices are amazing low.
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:30 PM   #169
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I agree that neither side really would have the money to fund a legal battle but what is the cost of sending a C&D letter? $1000 tops? If that had got the response the LHBS had wanted then that would have been it = no $100,000+ legal fees.
And maybe that is what game the brewery is playing, calling the bluff. Only time will tell (unless something has happened since I haven't been watching )
As I said before I see this is not an open and shut case and both sides have some arguments to fight with.
If the LHBS's annual revenue is really under 100k/yr (remember revenue != profit) as was referenced earlier he likely couldn't afford to get this case in front of a federal judge.

I thought the first C&D letter was pretty straightforward, but that the second letter was openly hostile and unprofessional. It's got me wondering if the lawyer is trying to force this into litigation for his own gain, rather than his clients best interest.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:18 PM   #170
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Any word on this one in the past month?

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