Author Topic: These guys need to clean up their act  (Read 12367 times)

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #60 on: November 14, 2012, 05:46:15 AM »
Are these US-only trademarks? Because I'm pretty lazy when it comes to naming my beers... Perhaps I should file for the trademark here in Europe... "Phil's Two-Hearted Evil Cousin 'Old Rasputin' aka Raging b**** Boston Lager"

Just send me 3 bottles and a mortgage payment for all those "g"s and we're good. 
As for General Motors...they're lucky I havent' gone after them!

I had the same thought about US versus rest of the world.  Not gonna hire a lawyer to find out but I'm curious.


Too late - I just registered "Strange Brew", "Strange Brewing" and any derivative thereof in English, French and Spanish in both Canada and Mexico.   Now let's see ... I need to write two cease and desist letters to make sure no sales occur in either of those countries!!  I see how this works.  Much better than creating a real business.

Sorry, I don't think you understand it yet.  What you want to do is wait for someone to actually make sales in those countries, then you sue them for a portion of those royalties for violating your trademark.  LOL

No confusion here - tongue was firmly planted in cheek!
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Online davidgzach

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #61 on: November 14, 2012, 06:22:09 AM »
But the HB shop does have a legitimate concern, however, if they were contemplating opening a brewery and wanted to use their homebrew shop name.

This would be the only reason, in my opinion, why one would lead with a letter from an nattorney.  However, nothing like this was mentioned in the letter.  Seems the case is HBS versus micro-brewery and zero competition.  I think it's pathetic.

Dave
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Online davidgzach

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #62 on: November 14, 2012, 06:28:22 AM »
Type Strange Brew to the search bar in Facebook and see what happens.  I wonder if they all got cease and desist letters?
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Offline starkadhr

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #63 on: November 14, 2012, 12:00:31 PM »
Strange Brew Homebrew Shop didn't come up with the name "Strange Brew" either. It's the name of a 1983 film, a Cream song, a tavern, several coffeehouses (including a large one in Austin), a software company, an online comic, an occult supply store, etc. all with an online presence, all of which took me about 5 seconds on Google to find. So how can they claim they own the rights to it?!?

They were using the Grateful Dead dancing bear logo on their Facebook page, then took it down when people started calling them on it. Surely they don’t own the rights to that. Hypocritical much?

Strange Brewing Company in Denver, after receiving that first letter from their lawyer, tried to “reach across the aisle” and come up with an amicable solution. Whether Strange Brew liked it or not is not what upset people. What upset people is the tone of the subsequent letter that was sent by their lawyer, calling their offer “offensive” and frankly they just came across as a complete jerk who is trying bully another small business with litigation.

Strange Brewing Company did not start a social media campaign to attack the MA homebrew shop. They posted a link to the Westword article (http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2012/11/strange_brewing_trademark_threat.php) which has the full text of all three letters, and people were able to see for themselves the tone of both sides and then, of their own free will, fans of Strange Brewing Company and hundreds of craft beer fans in general analyzed the situation and are extremely unhappy that Strange Brew Homebrew Shop chose the path of litigation rather than collaboration, an idea that has caught on and is promoted within the craft beer community. Strange Brewing Company did NOT launch a social media campaign against them. People saw what huge jerks Strange Brew was being and they let their voices be heard. In a society with free speech, that’s how social media works! We have that right. Strange Brew Homebrew Shop has repeatedly deleted comments on their Facebook page in an effort to hide the backlash, but it has carried over to Yelp, beer forums, Reddit, and more. That’s the digital age for you. Maybe they should have thought this through more carefully before they decided to go down this path?

So to summarize: the reputation of Strange Brew Homebrew Shop has been tarnished because, ultimately, they decided to sue someone to “get ahead”, Strange Brewing Company tried to find a way to work it out with them, Strange Brew Homebrew Shop responded with another threatening letter from their lawyer, the word got out, and people have let them know about their displeasure with the situation.

Offline thetooth

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #64 on: November 14, 2012, 12:16:36 PM »
No confusion here - tongue was firmly planted in cheek!

Yeah, I got that and was just having fun with it.  Sorry if it came across badly.   :)

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #65 on: November 14, 2012, 12:25:26 PM »
Strange Brew Homebrew Shop didn't come up with the name "Strange Brew" either. It's the name of a 1983 film, a Cream song, a tavern, several coffeehouses (including a large one in Austin), a software company, an online comic, an occult supply store, etc. all with an online presence, all of which took me about 5 seconds on Google to find. So how can they claim they own the rights to it?!?[...]


First off let me say that I more or less agree with your arguments. However to respond purely to this one point. They can claim they own the rights because they made the effort to trademark the name. simple as that. As Thirsty Monk pointed out. If you have a trademark you must defend that trademark in order to keep it. did they handle it well? NO. but the movie, the song, the coffee houses, the software co, etc. are in totally different lines of business that have, with the possible exception of the movie, nothing to do with beer.

not saying they did the right thing or handled it well but they did take an action when an action needed to be taken.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #66 on: November 14, 2012, 12:47:41 PM »
Mort and Leo's have it right legally, of course, but isn't it great that we live in a country where and at a time when being a dickhead can be punished by market loss, despite the law?  It keeps everyone both legally and morally responsible!

And again, the law is woefully trailing reality in so many ares, including homebrewing!!

Cheers to all who have commented here.
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Offline bunderbunder

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #67 on: November 14, 2012, 01:42:36 PM »
. . .the movie, the song, the coffee houses, the software co, etc. are in totally different lines of business that have, with the possible exception of the movie, nothing to do with beer.

The software, too.  It's similar to BeerSmith.

Online theDarkSide

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #68 on: November 14, 2012, 01:49:27 PM »
but the movie, the song, the coffee houses, the software co, etc. are in totally different lines of business that have, with the possible exception of the movie, nothing to do with beer.

not saying they did the right thing or handled it well but they did take an action when an action needed to be taken.

Except the SB Tavern, which you could say is in the same business ( as much as a homebrew shop and a brewery are ).  But then, maybe they're next.

Much like the Monster/Vermonster mess, they aren't really in the same line either, but they gave up the pursuit when they realized the PR nightmare that was brewing ( tee hee ).  I guess in the end the homebrew shop will "win", but the locals I'm sure will still call the brewery Strange Brewing.  I never stopped calling a concert venue in Southern MA "Great Woods" just because Verizon, Comcast, Fidelity, etc decided to change it's name.  I am however too young to call the Patriots stadium Shaefer Stadium but at least it's not CMGI anymore. 

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Offline krantul

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #69 on: November 14, 2012, 02:28:08 PM »
Hypothetically..

1. Suppose I open a homebrew shop called "Surly Brew Homebrew Supply" in Massachusetts.  Although Surly Brewing's beer is pretty much only sold in Minnesota, and they are homebrewer-friendly as they come, do you believe that they would not defend their trademark?  Particularly if I had a stated intent to start a brewery as well? Who would you sympathize with in this circumstance?

2. What if Strange Brewing were not a bunch of nice guy craft brewers, and were instead yet another craft beer shell company owned by Anheuser-Busch, would you still think the homebrew shop was being petty about their trademark?

And the last point I'd make is: folks are picking on the homebrew shop for lawyering up so fast instead of sending a polite email.  But Strange Brewing was evidently aware of the homebrew shop and the trademark when they started their company; they could have sent the shop an email on day one inquiring if there'd be a conflict with the name, and apparently chose not to.

Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #70 on: November 15, 2012, 06:29:08 AM »
Maybe the Denver brewery should changed their name to Estranged Brewing - Similar to the old name, different enough to avoid the trademark issue, and quite appropriate  ;D

Estrange: Cause (someone) to be no longer close or affectionate to someone; alienate.
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Online davidgzach

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #71 on: November 15, 2012, 07:19:18 AM »
Maybe the Denver brewery should changed their name to Estranged Brewing - Similar to the old name, different enough to avoid the trademark issue, and quite appropriate  ;D

Estrange: Cause (someone) to be no longer close or affectionate to someone; alienate.

I'm with you MTN!
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #72 on: November 15, 2012, 12:05:40 PM »
Hypothetically..

1. Suppose I open a homebrew shop called "Surly Brew Homebrew Supply" in Massachusetts.  Although Surly Brewing's beer is pretty much only sold in Minnesota, and they are homebrewer-friendly as they come, do you believe that they would not defend their trademark?  Particularly if I had a stated intent to start a brewery as well? Who would you sympathize with in this circumstance?

2. What if Strange Brewing were not a bunch of nice guy craft brewers, and were instead yet another craft beer shell company owned by Anheuser-Busch, would you still think the homebrew shop was being petty about their trademark?

And the last point I'd make is: folks are picking on the homebrew shop for lawyering up so fast instead of sending a polite email.  But Strange Brewing was evidently aware of the homebrew shop and the trademark when they started their company; they could have sent the shop an email on day one inquiring if there'd be a conflict with the name, and apparently chose not to.

Surly was not in widespread use already when the MN group started using (and presumably) registered it.  This Strange Brew situation is like Pat Riley registering "Threepeat"  after it was already in widespread use - a purely unimaginative, dickhead move purely to gain commercially.

Same feeling if InBev did it, just that it would likely just buy out the SB Homebrew shop to get the name rights.  That's called pimping a dickhead.

I'm not so sure that the CO guys were actually aware, but even so, the prior existing widespread use would lead a layman to believe he was not violating anyone's rights. 

No one is debating the legal rights - Leos set that straight from the outset.  It is the enforcement and motive behind registration that bothers me.  Xerox has to be diligent to protect its photocopy trade name, otherwise every photocopying machine would be called a Xerox machine.  Strange Brewhomebrew supplier  is not adversely affected in my mind by the CO group's use of the name.


Nice debate, fellows - no harm intended to anyone commenting here.


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Offline krantul

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #73 on: November 16, 2012, 09:27:59 AM »
Strange Brewhomebrew supplier is not adversely affected in my mind by the CO group's use of the name.

Strange Brew's trademark for the sale of homebrew supplies is not harmed by Strange Brewing's activities.  But they do have a second trademark on the name for beer, filed in 2007, because they had 'intent to use' for a brewery themselves.  I don't find the geography relevant in the dispute to be relevant, as both the existing Strange Brewing and the future Strange Brew breweries would doubtless enjoy distributing beer to each other's states if they could ever grow to that level; it may seem unlikely, but there is potential, and thus potential for market confusion.

I proposed the earlier hypotheticals to try and get people to look at this from different perspectives.  The A-B one was to reverse this whole David-Goliath metaphor that some people are trying to perpetuate and illustrate who sympathies might shift when a different party is involved but the overall trademark situation is otherwise the same. 


Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: These guys need to clean up their act
« Reply #74 on: November 16, 2012, 09:50:42 AM »
Strange Brewhomebrew supplier is not adversely affected in my mind by the CO group's use of the name.
But they do have a second trademark on the name for beer, filed in 2007, because they had 'intent to use' for a brewery themselves.

I don't do much trademark practice, but I seem to recall that one of the requirements for pleading an actionable trademark infringement suit is that the defendant must have used the allegedly infringing mark "in commerce."  Isn't it also the case that the plaintiff must be using the mark in commerce in order to state an actionable claim?  If the homebrew store registered the mark for beer 2007 with the mere intent to use it in commerce someday, it seems to me that if they have not yet used the mark for a commercial purpose, i.e., started a brewery by the same name, the store would not be able to enforce the mark against a brewery.  The store would really be no better than a cybersquatter or patent troll.
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