Author Topic: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's  (Read 5752 times)

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2015, 10:27:49 PM »
At this point, I don't know, it is pure conjecture. The indisputable facts are:
A: Bell's filled a lawsuit
B: That is a dick move
C: I stopped buying their products as a result and so did thousands of others

 ;)
I thought it was a challenge to a trademark application? Not a law suit, but it is before the Feds for a decision, so both sides need to lawyer up.


JD s can correct me.







 
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Offline hophead636

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2015, 01:23:56 AM »
What I don't understand is its only on there bumper sticker why the hell do they care not like it's one of their beers or label art or anything it's a bumper sticker tht prolly only people on Michigan know about.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2015, 03:31:05 AM »
I hope I'm rich enough to sue people someday.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2015, 01:29:04 PM »
I hope I'm rich enough to sue people someday.

Get a lawyer who works on contingency.  You don't need to be rich to sue, you just need to sue someone rich.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2015, 01:42:11 PM »
I hope I'm rich enough to sue people someday.

Get a lawyer who works on contingency.  You don't need to be rich to sue, you just need to sue someone rich.

By far best advice ever given on this forum.

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #35 on: March 12, 2015, 01:59:56 PM »
At this point, I don't know, it is pure conjecture. The indisputable facts are:
A: Bell's filled a lawsuit
B: That is a dick move
C: I stopped buying their products as a result and so did thousands of others

 ;)
I thought it was a challenge to a trademark application? Not a law suit, but it is before the Feds for a decision, so both sides need to lawyer up.

JD s can correct me.
That's true. Bell's filed an opposition to Innovation's trademark on 'Innovation Brewing'. If that trademark were granted, it would pretty much ban any other US brewery from using the word 'Innovation' in marketing. I doubt Bell's is saying they own the word Innovation, just that the word is too commonly used in the craft beer to be granted trademark protection.
 
http://www.trademarkia.com/innovation-brewing-85929587.html
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #36 on: March 12, 2015, 02:16:14 PM »
Just posted by Bells.
 
Quote
We want to clear up a few things regarding our federal trademark dispute with Innovation Brewing.
1. We have not, and are not asking them to change their name or their logo. There is no lawsuit. We are not suing them. We have not asked them for money. We have not asked them to stop selling their beer. We are asking them to withdraw their federal trademark application. ...  2. Our concern is with their United States trademark application and potential impact on our brand, which we have spent 30 years building.
3. I personally reached out to Innovation Brewing to try to settle this matter in February, 2014 and attempted to talk about this brewer to brewer instead of involving lawyers. Our efforts were rebuffed and Innovation Brewing choose to pursue this in the legal system.
4. Over the last year, we have offered co-existence agreements and have offered to pay for their legal fees. We tried to find solutions that would work for both of us. Their response was to ask for an exorbitant amount of money and we did not feel that was a collaborative solution.
5. All offers that we proposed were rejected and after more than a year of discussion regrettably, this matter has moved to the federal trademark office.

Offered co-existence and to pay Innovation's legal fees? That's way more than Innovation would be offered in any other industry.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #37 on: March 12, 2015, 02:22:36 PM »
At this point, I don't know, it is pure conjecture. The indisputable facts are:
A: Bell's filled a lawsuit
B: That is a dick move
C: I stopped buying their products as a result and so did thousands of others

 ;)

Let me fix that for you:
A: Bell's called brewer to brewer and tried to work it out
B: Innovation told them to go F themselves
C: People jumped to conclusions without knowing the facts

Even these "facts" are not indisputable.  The truth is unknowable, since none of us are at Bell's or at Innovation.  Everyone wants to side with the little guy, but little guys can be dicks, too.  I like Bell's beer.  Not all of it, but a lot of it.  I will continue to buy it and drink it if it is available.  I've never had Innovation's beer, but if it's ever available to me and I like it, I will buy it and drink it.  The world is full of dicks.  If you want to avoid them all, you'll have to move somewhere very very remote.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #38 on: March 12, 2015, 02:54:38 PM »
Everyone that is not an IP attorney should read this so that we are prepared for the next trademark kerfuffle.

http://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/trademark-faqs
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Offline wingnut

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #39 on: March 12, 2015, 02:59:14 PM »
I am kind of on the fence on the whole thing....

I don't see the argument for Bells in this case....HOWEVER!

The way trademark laws are written, there really is no "protection".  No one is independantly or proactively studying each trademark or potential trademark. No entity is going to protect your brand for you.   So it is up to each company/person to defend its own trademark and brands. 

The way the laws are written, if you fail to defend a "potential" infringment as soon as you are aware... you are essentially letting your trade mark lapse and all future arguments that someone is "stealing" your tradmark become null and void because you did not defend it previously...So allowing the precidence of someone to use it without your express permission, opens everything in the future up.

All in all the preset system was created by lawyers and big business to benefit lawyers and those with deep enough pockets to have them... Creating a competitive edge for bigger companies by creating a need for lawyers to argue this nonsense, when most people could create an agreement over a beer and a hand shake.

I think it is a crappy move on Bell's part when looking at this singular item...but because of the whole big litigation world surrounding trademarks... I think it is something they may need to do when you look at the big picture.   (Part of the @$#% part of the business)

What really needs to happen is a better set of laws surrounding trade marks, and a change to the system that enforces it.  The present system was created by big companies (mostly outside of the beer business) so to have the laws work, you have to use them like big business. 

It sucks.

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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #40 on: March 12, 2015, 03:10:02 PM »
I thought it was a challenge to a trademark application? Not a law suit, but it is before the Feds for a decision, so both sides need to lawyer up.


JD s can correct me.

Right. Innovation Brewing applied for a federal trademark and Bell's filed an opposition asserting that they have a preexisting right.

I've uploaded Bell's opposition here: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/173579889/Bell%27s%20Brewery%20Trademark%20Opposition

It's worth pointing out that this opposition was filed nearly a year ago. It's been in the trademark office's administrative review process since. It's sort of like a trial procedure but nobody wins money, just a federal trademark (or the mark is denied). It seems Innovation ran to the media this month to complain about it. What's interesting about the timing of the sudden media exposure is that it came on the same day Bell's asked for a discovery extension because they allege Innovation has failed to adequately respond to discovery and they need time to work out the dispute over the discovery responses. Innovation, it seems, ran to the media to try to pressure Bell's to back off. That suggests Innovation is intentionally trying to avoid disclosing its position and evidence in discovery as procedural rules require. So I wouldn't say Innovation is behaving the most professionally over the whole issue.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 03:42:12 PM by reverseapachemaster »
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2015, 03:30:56 PM »
I have to agree... The more that comes to light casts a larger shadow on Innovation Brewing than Bell's.  At least in my opinion...  But if I'm being honest I couldn't care less either way.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #42 on: March 12, 2015, 03:47:16 PM »
What I don't understand is its only on there bumper sticker why the hell do they care not like it's one of their beers or label art or anything it's a bumper sticker tht prolly only people on Michigan know about.

According to their opposition to the trademark application, Bell's has not only been using the bumper sticker for thirty years but they have been using "Bottling Innovation" as an advertising slogan since 2009. If true, that precedes the existence of Innovation Brewing's use of the name in commerce. We don't get Bell's here in Texas so I'm not sure how much they really use that slogan but they say they use it and I imagine it would be easy to prove where and when it is printed on their advertising materials and packaging.
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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #43 on: March 12, 2015, 04:05:52 PM »
No one should be able to trademark the word "innovation."   That's way beyond slippery with respect to IP infringement. Unlike patents and copyrights, trademarks are forever unless they are abandoned by the trademark holder.

Let me tell you about a trademark that seems trivial on the surface, but has caused enormous friction in a market.  There's a company called DiMarzio that manufacturers electric guitar pickups. DiMarzio was the first manufacturer of aftermarket guitar pickups to specialize in producing "hot" guitar pickups for hard rock guitarists with the Super Distortion and Dual Sound (which was a center-tapped Super Distortion pickup). These pickups originally shipped with double-cream bobbins, which DiMarzio trademarked.  This trademark has prevented other guitar pickup manufacturers from manufacturing double-cream bobbin pickups for four decades. 

While the trademark may seem trivial, there are a lot of guitarists who want double-cream pickups, but not the models that DiMarzio manufactures.  There has been a rise in boutique pickup manufacturers over the last twenty or so years much like the rise in the craft beer.  Many small pickup winders have discovered that DiMarzio is not shy about sending cease and desist letters.  This trademark is ripe for a legal challenge because DiMarzio has all, but abandoned double-cream bobbins in its literature and advertising.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 04:07:25 PM by S. cerevisiae »

Offline MDixon

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #44 on: March 12, 2015, 07:58:49 PM »
Quote
To Our Wonderful Craft Beer Community:
We felt it was important to get our story out to the media because this is an important matter for the craft beer industry. We did not intend (nor do we want to) have a social media battle with Bell's, but because of allegations posted on Bell’s Brewery’s Facebook page we now have to defend ourselves. Settlement discussions are protected communications that are not to be disclosed publicly, so out of respect to Bell’s Brewery’s rights we would never have disclosed them. Furthermore, Mr. Bell pointedly stated that he would not “play this out on social media” – and so we again respected his wishes by keeping the details to ourselves. Now, it appears they changed their mind.
We are planning to deliver a full statement of the facts and events that have brought us to this point. Until then, we feel it necessary to respond to Ms. Bell’s enumerated allegations. Thank you for continuing to support and believe in us. You keep us going through this difficult time.
1. Yes, this is a TM proceeding and not a lawsuit, although it is like a lawsuit, requiring legal representation, being personally deposed, and including a trial. They are asking us to withdraw our federal trademark application for our brand name.
2. We do not believe that any human on earth would confuse Innovation Brewing with Bell’s Brewery, despite their slogans.
3. Laura Bell did contact me at 7:00 pm the night before their opposition filing was due. They had already hired attorneys to represent them and file for their extension to file the opposition. We had not hired an attorney. After she advised us that she would “let us” keep using the name in NC only, and never expand beyond it, she said that we had until the next day at 5:00 PM to respond. That is 22 hours to find an attorney and decide on the future of our business. That was the one and only attempt Ms. Bell made to contact me. From there their attorneys took over.
4. Not a single co-existence agreement has ever been presented to us by Bell's. In fact it was we who submitted a written co-existence agreement – subsequently declined by Bell’s. The only monetary compensation they have ever offered us was $2,500 which was to cover the inconvenience of being forced to abandon our trademark and go register a different one. The “legal fees”, as Ms. Bell puts it, brought on by their legal action against us, may exceed $50,000. We did not feel like being bought off.
5. This matter was before the TM office one day after she began talking to us. No offer has ever been presented to us other than the offer to limit our business to NC or take $2,500 to start over and build a new brand. We believe in our business, so those are not really offers at all.
6. In regards to Laura Bell stating "we hope to resolve this as swiftly as the system will allow" we suggested the accelerated trademark opposition process that would have brought this to a legal end much sooner and with far less expense, but Bell's denied it.
You great people don’t deserve to be peppered with sides of the story. So we will give you a full account of the facts so you can decide for yourself. We are good people and we know we have your support. Stay tuned.
-Chip and Nicole

Still not buying Bell's... ;)
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