On September 6th (the most recent trademark applications available for viewing in the USPTO's database are always 4-5 days behind), applicants filed twenty-four beer-related trademark applications. Some of the highlights include:
- CATFISH [standard characters] for beer filed by Turtle Anarchy Brewing Company, LLC in Nashville, Tennessee;
- for beer and lager filed by Full Sail Brewing Company in Hood River, Oregon;
- BUZZROCK BEER COMPANY [standard characters] for beer filed by an individual in Hermosa Beach, California;
- GAY BEER [standard characters] filed by Loyal Brands, LLC in New York City;
- for beer filed by Hatchet Brewing Company, LLC in Southern Pines, North Carolina; and
- TAPER [standard characters] for beer filed by Sufferfest Brewing Company, LLC in San Francisco, California.
Many of these entrepreneurs and brewing companies take advantage of the intent-to-use filing basis under 15 USC 1051(b), which allows an applicant to obtain priority (contingent upon registration) in a mark prior to developing any common law rights. See also TMEP 1101. In other words, if a brewer has a bona fide intention to use a name or logo with a beer (i.e., has developed marketing plans, has ordered proofs, etc.), it can effectively "reserve" rights in that name or logo as of the filing date with an intent-to-use trademark application, if that application actually matures to a registration.
The large number of trademark filings for beer-related marks also demonstrates the importance of a trademark search prior to use and filing of a mark. Not only will the Trademark Office refuse, under Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act (see also TMEP 1207 et seq.), to register a mark that is too similar to an active, previously-filed application or registration, using a mark that is too similar to another's mark can put a newcomer at risk of infringement, if the newcomer's goods or services are related to those offered by the senior user. A trademark search helps identify these risks up front and can save substantial headaches (and costs) down the road. If you plan on using or filing an application for any mark (and especially beer-related marks), a trademark search is highly recommended.
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