The craft brewing industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in terms of new firms in America. In such a crowded industry, it can sometimes be difficult to stand out. That’s why success in the craft brewery industry is often a two-fold process. Having a solid product that people can count on is often the foundation of the business, but for real success, it’s often not enough. Building an equally strong brand that people readily associate with the product can be just as important. A vital part of building a brand is creating identifiable markings for the brand. The value, though, of those markings only goes so far, as they need to remain exclusively associated with your brand.
Trademark protections are an absolute necessity for companies looking to protect their brand. A trademark prevents other companies from using your brand image to profit themselves. It also prevents your brand image from being damaged by second-rate imposters. However, just getting a trademark is not enough, as it is also necessary to protect the trademark and intervene when someone violates it. Having a trademark lawyer you can count can be essential to setting up your trademark and protecting it.
Registering a trademark follows a few basic steps. However, there can be a few options at each stage, and it’s important to get them right to ensure that your trademark is properly protected. Therefore, having a trademark attorney who can help get your trademark registered can ensure that your trademark is as secure as possible. The steps for registering a trademark are:
Maintaining your trademark’s exclusivity means dealing with disputes and policing any unlicensed appropriation of your trademark. A good trademark attorney can be essential when doing this.
A: Having your beer’s logo trademarked is good practice. The more you have trademarked around the beer’s identity, the more you can rely on being able to consistently promote the beer. In addition to trademarking the logo, you will also want to trademark the brewery and even your tagline if you have one. An important element of continuing to own a trademark is defending it. Having the whole promotional design and brand elements around the beer trademarked can help you defend every aspect of the beer and your promotion of it with that package.
A: Yes. While a federal trademark requires a presence in multiple states, that doesn’t necessarily have to mean sales in other states. Something participating in a contest or a festival in a different state can be enough of a presence to warrant a federal trademark. While you could settle for just a state trademark, it can be worthwhile to consider a federal trademark in case you want to expand into different states at some point. Even if you have no plans to do so now, or don’t even want to in the future, having the federal trademark could make the business more valuable if you sell it and the new ownership wants to expand.
A: To trademark your brewery name, you will want to start by making sure that your name isn’t already trademarked. This can start with searching the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System. However, once you have something that can clear your search, you will probably want a trademark lawyer to run more extensive searches just to be sure. You will also need to decide the type of trademark, either standard character or special form. Working with an attorney can ensure that you don’t waste time submitting the wrong forms.
You will need to identify and classify the goods and services related to the trademark using the Trademark ID Manual. You will also need to determine your filing basis. You can file either as “use in commerce,” which means that you are already commercially using the name, or as “intent to use,” meaning that you have firm plans to use the name commercially within the next three or four years. Lastly, you can file your trademark using the Trademark Electronic Application System. Each of these steps has multiple options and can get a bit complex, so working with a trademark lawyer can help smooth out the process for you.
A: Maintaining a trademark requires some vigilance on the part of the trademark’s owner. There are a number of ways a trademark could be lost, including:
A product is part of a company’s value, but the brand itself can also be tremendously valuable. It’s what causes people to recognize the product and develop associations with the brand. To protect the value they create around their brand, a company must protect those things that make the brand identifiable. This can be especially important in the crowded craft brewery and alcohol industry. Part of ensuring that your brand is protected is making sure that the trademark is properly registered. This is not always easy, given the complex bureaucracy surrounding trademarks and intellectual property. If you want help ensuring that your trademark is properly protected, contact us at Four Reasons Legal today.