Author Topic: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's  (Read 7577 times)

Offline MDixon

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #75 on: March 16, 2015, 01:11:44 AM »
There was a boycott in NC of brands (both wine and beer) from a particular distributor when we were trying to change the ABV laws in NC in 2005 and they stood in our way. They quickly changed their tune and got with the program. Despite their best efforts, to this day they still have difficultly in some areas getting taps and finding shelf space.

This is a very different situation, but even with Bell's best spin from their PR firm I doubt they will take hold again in the Western, NC market unless something happens. Bell's had a honey hole in NC when the laws changed and they came in. Today the market is decidedly different. If they lose a tap, it may take awhile to earn that slot back. People tend to remember the bad much more than they remember the good.

If I were Bell's I'd get an agreement in place with Innovation. They can TM their name, we can TM our slogan, both can distribute beer everywhere and all would be just fine in the world.

Inspired does not equal Innovation (Inspired Brewing - Innovation Brewing) and "Bottling innovation.." does not equal "Innovation Brewing".

And major a 9 does not look like a 6 unless you are drunk and standing on your head. ;)
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Offline graymoment

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #76 on: March 17, 2015, 12:16:02 AM »
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.
Yes, if more people would research this situation rather than jumping to conclusions, they would see that Bells is not trying to trademark anything. They are simply trying to stop Innovation Brewing from being able to trademark the term so that they don't have to stop using a slogan that they have been using for decades. I really don't see how any sensible person would fault Bells for that.

Offline MDixon

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #77 on: March 17, 2015, 11:33:38 AM »
Take a good hard look at the Bell's filings and timings, not just a single document. They have drug this out and the media involvement happened after yet another filing. It will be interesting to see the full account of it all Innovation promised once all is said and done. However Trusscott Rossman can probably find a way to spin it for Bell's.;)
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #78 on: March 17, 2015, 12:08:38 PM »
Look out Allagash...you're next:
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #79 on: March 17, 2015, 02:21:24 PM »
Take a good hard look at the Bell's filings and timings, not just a single document. They have drug this out and the media involvement happened after yet another filing. It will be interesting to see the full account of it all Innovation promised once all is said and done. However Trusscott Rossman can probably find a way to spin it for Bell's.;)

I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation of the filings. Bell's most recent filing asks for an extension for discovery because Innovation--allegedly--failed to adequately respond to discovery. When one party gets cagey about responding to discovery and fails to provide responses as required by procedural rules then the only thing you can really do is more discovery. The party improperly resisting discovery has no room to complain about the extension as it is their conduct motivating the extension.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #80 on: March 17, 2015, 08:10:38 PM »
Look out Allagash...you're next:

Only if Innovation gets the trademark. ;-)
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #81 on: March 17, 2015, 10:02:29 PM »
What would solve this is a law requiring everyone to use the same exact package, label, and advertising. How would that work? Well, funny you should ask. I don't know. But together we could make it work! As long as we all work together, doing the same thing, there will be no need for innovation. Or motivation for that matter.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #82 on: March 17, 2015, 10:11:01 PM »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Offline MDixon

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #84 on: March 19, 2015, 01:07:42 PM »
From Innovation March 14:
Quote
Yesterday, we offered Bell's another co-existence agreement to resolve this dispute, since Bell's management has indicated an interest in resolution via their many facebook and newspaper statements. We are going to sit back and wait a few days in hopes that cooler heads can prevail and an agreement can actually be reached. Fingers crossed.
To Clear Up Any Confusion:
Should this opposition have been filed? That is the question we encourage everyone to ponder. Public sentiment has forced Bell's into a defensive position advised by their consulting team: an outside PR firm, a New York City IP law firm and a Michigan law firm. And the result of their campaign insinuates that we are liars and that craft brew fans cannot muster the comprehension to stay focused on the merits of the action. We know better. This is the most intelligent group of consumers out there. So we want to take a moment to discuss the case itself.
A “run-of-the-mill” trademark dispute, to use Larry Bell’s own words, is one where a brand owner has a registered mark that clearly matches an infringer’s mark. Bell’s Brewery has 20 registered trademarks and 3 more in the same process as our mark. If someone files for an application for something like “Inspired Beer Co” we expect a run-of-the-mill dispute to be raised and resolved in a matter of days. But when an applicant files a mark that does not look like, sound like or mean anything close to “Inspired” then it’s not “run-of-the-mill” at all, in fact it is not even a dispute. As for an unregistered word used in a marketing slogan (see “bottling innovation since 1985”), the protection is almost non-existent. Think of how many words are used in a brewery’s lifetime in a marketing statement. There are probably thousands, over 30 years. If a brewery feels that it is part of its brand, it would have protected it. This is especially true when the brewery is adept at filing for trademarks, such as Bell's. That was not the case here. Like Bell's would do, we searched far and wide before selecting a brand name. And we are asking for the same protection that they have been afforded 20+ times.
In the early days of this dispute, when we were asked what our brand was worth, we told them a lot. We did not expect that to be used against us as proposing a settlement figure. Our brand was not for sale, and it's not for sale now. We fully believe we can come to an agreement with Bell's, and we will never ask them for compensation. An agreement would let both breweries use our existing brands going forward, because consumers are not likely to be confused.
Bell’s, we just don't think you should have filed it. We believe that it lacks merit, and the impact has been an unfortunate, costly, and lengthy heartache for all. Let’s settle it. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on our most recent coexistence agreement and truly look forward to a resolution.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #85 on: March 19, 2015, 02:34:14 PM »
In my professional experience I find that fanning the flames of the disagreement rarely serves to bring the parties to a settlement, especially while fanning the flames the party takes swipes at the other side's business practices and misstates the law. That's all Innovation is doing here. If they have a legitimate interest in reaching an agreement then there's no need to run to social media (or the media) to make it into a PR fight. Now Bell's has an incentive not to accept the agreement because it will appear as an admission that they did something wrong by asserting their own rights in a trademark dispute and that they have dysfunctional business practices. No business is coming to the bargaining table in that position unless they have to. Bell's doesn't have to.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #86 on: March 20, 2015, 01:32:45 AM »
Quote
Bell’s, we just don't think you should have filed it. We believe that it lacks merit, and the impact has been an unfortunate, costly, and lengthy heartache for all.

I really hope this has all been a publicity stunt and that they don't really think they'll be getting a trademark on the word "innovation" in the brewing industry.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #87 on: March 20, 2015, 02:03:21 AM »
I don't know that it pertains, but recently there was a music law suit in the news where it was alleged that the new song infringed by having the same vibe as a Marvin Gaye song. Not same lyrics, not same melody, not same title... it just felt the same. It was upheld, so could this apply at some level in beer? Could a label or other marketing be liable for having the same vibe? Hmmm, fat tire vs chain breaker? Don't they both have a bicycle feel?

Offline Stevie

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Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #88 on: March 20, 2015, 02:27:24 AM »
The song was blurred lines and I still don't fully understand what's going on ;)

But seriously, it has something to do with the original composition of the song that wasn't released, as he improvised on the recording, but he played it that way in concert. I read at least a half dozen articles trying to figure it out and still don't see it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziz9HW2ZmmY
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 02:37:24 AM by Steve in TX »

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Bell's files lawsuit against Innovation - AKA suck it Bell's
« Reply #89 on: March 20, 2015, 04:32:40 AM »
The Blurred Lines case wouldn't apply to a brewery name or advertising slogan because the song is not a trademark--it is not a symbol or label that identifies a business.

We will never know exactly why the jury did what it did but the two songs are closely related in a number of parts. They are written in different keys and arranged differently but the vocal styling is similar, the rhythm and percussive instrumentation is similar but I think what really got Robin Thicke and Pharrell was the extremely similar bassline. The combination of those pieces make up the driving feel of a particular song and those pieces are pretty much identical from one song to the other. Both also use similar background sounds of people talking or milling about. That doesn't hurt the Gaye family position. The jury heard pieces of each song broken out and played electronically through MIDI so they could compare just the bassline or just the percussive lines. That makes it a little easier to hear the individual similarities. 

What also probably hurt Robin Thicke and Pharrell was that there was some comments made shortly after the song came out that they had basically ripped off this song. The story changed every time they were confronted about the similarity. That kind of dishonesty doesn't help build credibility, especially when you are defending against a claim that you stole somebody's work.
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