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Old 08-02-2012, 04:07 PM   #1
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Copyright Beer Name: I am wondering as I have nine brews under belt, names of my beer. I eventually want to open a small brewery tasting room type establishment and have names for my beers. But wondering what I need to do to secure my names. Do I have to have the brews certified or have labels made up before I can do that? Thanks for any help.

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Old 08-02-2012, 05:04 PM   #2
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You mean trademark, not copyright. Copyright is a publishing term!

Your can trademark a "brand," including a logo and the way the name is presented, like the font, colors, etc., but you can't trademark most common words themselves. You would have to have a unique name that is not already registered for any product or service.

You can search to see if what you want is available through the US Trademark office here: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/index.jsp

The site also has all of the information you could ever want. Once you are ready to apply for your trademark, do a google search and there are hundreds of quicky law offices that will do one for about $150.00 per application.

Good luck!

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Old 08-02-2012, 08:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
You mean trademark, not copyright. Copyright is a publishing term!

Your can trademark a "brand," including a logo and the way the name is presented, like the font, colors, etc., but you can't trademark most common words themselves. You would have to have a unique name that is not already registered for any product or service.
Unless you are Apple or Microsoft.
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:30 PM   #4
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What do you mean? Apple has a trademark of their brand. They don't own the name "Apple." I go to the grocery store weekly and see fruits marketed as "Apple." Shipyard Brewing has an "Apple Ale." You can't trademark common terms, just the logo and certain branding conventions.

Apple and Microsoft don't have anything special about them. They follow the rules. Maybe you mean that if they don't have the trademark, they just go out and buy the company that does??

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Old 08-02-2012, 09:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
What do you mean? Apple has a trademark of their brand. They don't own the name "Apple." I go to the grocery store weekly and see fruits marketed as "Apple." Shipyard Brewing has an "Apple Ale." You can't trademark common terms, just the logo and certain branding conventions.

Apple and Microsoft don't have anything special about them. They follow the rules. Maybe you mean that if they don't have the trademark, they just go out and buy the company that does??
Well, or they buy the rights to the name from someone who doesn't own it (see: ipad), or they create new corporate entities to speculatively trademark words they might use a couple years in advance to see if anyone is going to put up a fight.

they play "by the rules" but it helps to have money and power when you want the referee to rule in your favor.
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:24 PM   #6
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and off topic we go...

Anyways back to OP. If you want to trademark you need to figure the categories you want to trademark under, then figure out what is needed to submit the paper. Just note that its $325 per category that you want to trademark on top of any other fees you might incur. Lawyers are good to help you through the paperwork. Depending on how "do it yourself" you are, you can always read the sections of the handbook that will apply to the categories you are trademarking to know what is needed to submit plus the forum found on their webpage. Then if you get an Office Action back, depending how complicated it is you could look for a lawyer then to help.

Just note a lot of breweries trademark under:
Beer" is in International Class 032 (goods class) "Light beverage"
Brewery Services" is in International Class 040 (service class)

And they will need samples of the mark your submitting in use.

Hopefully this somewhat helps, I am no means an expert and there may be more steps needed in the process.
http://www.uspto.gov/

"e application filing fee for the TEAS Plus version of the form is $275 per class of goods and/or services, but with stricter requirements, while regular TEAS is $325 per class."

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Old 08-02-2012, 09:40 PM   #7
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Speaking of speculative trademarks, I read a few years ago that each and every tobacco company has shell companies set up that own entire portfolios of commercial marijuana trademarks. You gotta think ahead!

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Old 08-03-2012, 12:54 AM   #8
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All the advice about the USPTO and the filling of the marks I'd sound, but the problem is, you can't trademark a name unless you are actively using it in commerce. You can't protect your beer name with a trademark until you are actually selling the beer.

You can file what's called an intent to use, but you still have to get your product sold in a fairly short time frame from filling.

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Old 08-03-2012, 01:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
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All the advice about the USPTO and the filling of the marks I'd sound, but the problem is, you can't trademark a name unless you are actively using it in commerce. You can't protect your beer name with a trademark until you are actually selling the beer.

You can file what's called an intent to use, but you still have to get your product sold in a fairly short time frame from filling.
This. And IIRC, you don't actually have to register the trademark, but it helps make your case and may improve your options if you win an infringement case. Making proper, consistent use of a unique name is the key here.

As has been covered above, descriptive terms cannot generally be copyrighted. The reason "Apple" is ok, even though it's a simple word describing an everyday object, is that it's unrelated to the products it's used to name.

So, basically, there's nothing you can do now to prevent someone from "stealing" one of your names, except keep them to yourself. But really, I don't think it's worth worrying about.
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Old 08-03-2012, 01:52 AM   #10
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Registering a domain name is also a good way to show "use" of that name.

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