Your Beer’s Name Inspired By a Famous Book, Movie or Song? It Might be Infringing. – Warner Bros. Challenges Brewer Over Golden Ticket Beer.

This is a big deal in brewing.  Not just for Star Wars themed beers, but also the thousands of derivative names and label art that are a tribute to some brewery’s favorite thing.  As evidenced by this recent opposition filed by Warner Bros., in Southern Sky Brewing’s trademark application for the “Golden Ticket” for beer […]

Goose Island scores win in action over refunds for “off” Bourbon County from 2015

Goose Island recently scored a win in Federal District Court Massachusetts where it achieved the dismissal of a class action brought by two Bourbon County Brand Stout purchasers who bought BCBS and variants from the 2015 year that was part of the bad batch fiasco for which Goose Island instituted a refund program. Those looking […]

Illinois bill granting new rights to craft brewers advances to the governor for signature

House Bill 4897 hasn’t been signed by the governor yet but it’s on its way. This bill passed both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate with no nay votes and no abstentions. Once signed the bill will add several new rights for craft breweries in the state of Illinois that bring the state closer […]

What’s the difference between good parody and bad? – A defensible legal position.

The recent kerfuffle between Knee Deep Brewing Co., and Sony Pictures Television over Knee Deep’s use of Breaking Bad (trademarked by Sony) iconography and imagery for their Breaking Bud IPA provides an opportunity for a good reminder about the defense of parody to trademark infringement. When done right, this time-honored, and statutorily codified defense to […]

Descriptive Phrases Are For Everyone’s Use – Vanilla Java Porter Denied Trademark Registration

Some bad news for Atwater in its quest to trademark “Vanilla Java Porter” is good news for those hoping ingredients and styles and variants don’t end up receiving registration forcing breweries to have to challenge registrations to get them undone in order to use common terms in their labeling.  You’re correct if you think this […]

6th Circuit Slams Distributor’s Attempt to Transfer Craft Beer Brands Without Brewer’s Consent

It’s a fairly typical clause in most distribution agreements, if not specifically stated in most state beer franchise laws – a promise that your distributor won’t transfer the franchise or the business (you want both and you’ll see why in a second) absent the brewer’s consent (which will not be “unreasonably” withheld).   The 6th Circuit […]

Dissent In Texas Three-Tier Case Contains Powerful Indictment Of Strict Enforcement Of Cross-Tier Ownership

As you all probably have heard, in Cadena Commercial v. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Texas Supreme Court recently weighed in on the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s decision to deny a license for retail sales to a group of convenience stores that wanted to sell alcohol because through a chain of ownership, one of the […]