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Old 01-29-2013, 08:37 PM   #181
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Your analogy only works if James chose the name after he already knew someone else had it.
I was responding to them claiming that their reputation with vendors has been tarnished becaused the names are too close and thus the vendors were getting confused.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:23 PM   #182
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If I opened a lhbs and named Terrapin Home Brewing I imagine the brewery Terrapin wouldn't be thrilled regardless of whether I cited the Grateful Dead song. Especially if it impacted the business in any way.

Every post in this board with someone asking for advice on opening a brewery is followed by 40 replies on how it's a business, do your due diligence. Strange Brew CO didn't, a simple Google search two years ago would have prevented all of this.

The worst part of all of this is that it isn't even a good name.

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Old 01-29-2013, 10:29 PM   #183
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If I opened a lhbs and named Terrapin Home Brewing I imagine the brewery Terrapin wouldn't be thrilled regardless of whether I cited the Grateful Dead song. Especially if it impacted the business in any way.

Every post in this board with someone asking for advice on opening a brewery is followed by 40 replies on how it's a business, do your due diligence. Strange Brew CO didn't, a simple Google search two years ago would have prevented all of this.

The worst part of all of this is that it isn't even a good name.
From what I remember of what I read they did check. And they did note that Strange LHBS. But they thought in their opinion that they were far enough away and in a market different enough that it would not be a problem. I got the feeling that they did not get any legal advice on that move though.
In the end they were wrong on their assumption.
Although they did do due diligance, they choose to ignore what they found.
(by the way I am agreeing with you)
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:15 PM   #184
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I feel bad for the lhbs in this.

Sure, it's a ridiculous name, but it's his. He shouldn't be punished for being uncreative.

Home brew and brewing share the same market space.

I should not be allowed to open a company that makes frozen hamburger patties and call it McDonalds. It's too similar. Sure, I'm not a restaurant, but it would be confusing.

The fact that these brewery guys are rallying support online and attempting to subvert the legalities of using the name, speaks volumes about them. Dicks.

Edit: Full disclosure, I work at one of Canada's largest patent, trademark, and full-service law firms (albeit in IT, not as an agent or lawyer).

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Old 01-30-2013, 11:11 AM   #185
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Home brew and brewing share the same market space.
Maybe, in that one would probably assume a "Budweiser Homebrew" was associated with Budweiser.

However, "Strange Brew" is not a unique term to begin with, so a consumer is less likely to assume such a connection. If their logos, packaging, etc, are different, there's even less likelihood.


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The fact that these brewery guys are rallying support online and attempting to subvert the legalities of using the name, speaks volumes about them. Dicks.
I disagree entirely. I see no evidence whatsoever of ill intent or bad faith here. They found that one of many businesses using a common phrase as part of their name was a small company, 3/4 of the way across the country, in a similar but not directly overlapping business. They concluded there would be no reasonable possibility for significant brand confusion. If they're legally wrong, that's a quirk, because I am strongly inclined to agree that their conclusion was a reasonable one. I don't count standing up for oneself to be dickitry. It's quite possible to reach amicable agreements to resolve issues like this, so IMO the LHBS are the dicks here.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:39 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by StittsvilleJames View Post
I feel bad for the lhbs in this.

Sure, it's a ridiculous name, but it's his. He shouldn't be punished for being uncreative.

Home brew and brewing share the same market space.

I should not be allowed to open a company that makes frozen hamburger patties and call it McDonalds. It's too similar. Sure, I'm not a restaurant, but it would be confusing.

The fact that these brewery guys are rallying support online and attempting to subvert the legalities of using the name, speaks volumes about them. Dicks.

Edit: Full disclosure, I work at one of Canada's largest patent, trademark, and full-service law firms (albeit in IT, not as an agent or lawyer).
Its his name? Really? How about the oregon based homebrew club that looks like it went back to the early 90's. Or the Movie which has the same name, or how about Creams song name "strange brew"

All this hbs owner has done is tarnished his name.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:45 AM   #187
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I just wish someone in the amicable solution camp would tell me what that looks like. What do envision each party would do? I appreciate the sentiment, but this isn't the parking lot of a Phish concert with two burrito slingers named Zed.

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Old 01-30-2013, 11:56 AM   #188
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I just wish someone in the amicable solution camp would tell me what that looks like. What do envision each party would do? I appreciate the sentiment, but this isn't the parking lot of a Phish concert with two burrito slingers named Zed.
Exactly. Yes, the letter from a lawyer sounds harsh - they all do. That's what you hire a lawyer for.

You have one example of a business owner being responsible and proactive. They filed their name and are now defending it in court - which is required to maintain the trademark. I really don't see how that's the bad guy in this situation. This magic la-la land where everyone's friends isn't how business works.

Do we know that there wasn't a friendly phone call before the letter? Let's just hypothetically say that there was - to which the response was "take us to court". Who's in the right then? Because to me - whether there was a friendly phone call or not the guy who took the time to investigate their own business name, register it and now is willing to pay a lawyer to defend it is simply winning at running a legitimate business.

It took me a matter of a Sunday morning and google to make sure that my LLC had an original name. Not hard and certainly worth my time. I chose a name that was different, therefore I don't have to worry about this. The Brewery, whether through poor assumptions on their part or bad legal advice or neglecting to do their homework is now in court. That's what happens.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:26 PM   #189
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The thing it seems you're all ignoring here is whether the name Strange Brew is defensible as a trademark. The term predates either company, and is in widespread use. It's a little bit akin to me trademarking the name "Programming Language" for a new programming language.

Oh wait, IBM did that.
And then they lost.

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Old 01-30-2013, 04:30 PM   #190
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The thing it seems you're all ignoring here is whether the name Strange Brew is defensible as a trademark. The term predates either company, and is in widespread use. It's a little bit akin to me trademarking the name "Programming Language" for a new programming language.

Oh wait, IBM did that.
And then they lost.
the existence of a name in an unrelated area of business does not exclude one from having a protected trademark in a different area

Delta Airlines and Delta faucets exist as two unrelated companies in two unrelated businesses - the name Delta (mouth of a river) long preexisted both companies and certainly wasn't some new creative name. If someone tried to open an airline related business they surely would lose the suit to Delta Airlines.

Strange Brew was a song long before it was a movie, I don't see anyone here criticizing the film because it used an unoriginal name and infringed on the trademark of Cream.

Why is the homebrew owner any more guilty for ripping off Cream or being uncreative than MGM would be for using the name of a well known popular song as the title of their movie?

the only area that is open for interpretation is whether or not the two similar yet not identical areas of business, brewing and selling brewing supplies, are close enough in nature that they represent a conflict. If the LHBS did in fact protect the name with anticipation of opening a brewery as well they should have a pretty easy case.

being uncreative is not justification for the CO brewery to not do their homework and see if the name was already in use and protected
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