Multiple American microbreweries have entered into trademark infringement disputes. With so many breweries now operating across the country, there have been numerous instances of similar brands and company names.
In one case, two breweries had the same name but in different languages. Zwei Bruder means “two brothers” in German, which upset Two Brothers Brewing Company in Illinois. Two Brothers Brewing Company sent a cease and desist letter to Zwei Bruder, leading the company to change its name to Zwei Brewing to avoid a possible lawsuit.
In Seattle, Peddler Brewing Company renamed their beer “Tangerine Wheat” to “Tangerine Hefeweizen”. Another brewery, Lost Coast, had already named a beer “Tangerine Wheat” and sent a cease and desist letter to Peddler Brewing Company. Lost Coast claimed that it had rights to the Tangerine Wheat trademark. Although Peddler Brewing Company did change the name of its beer, hefeweizen is German for “wheat beer”.
Currently, there are more than 3,000 breweries operating in the U.S., each producing a line of beers. It is likely trademark disputes in the beer industry are far from over.
Companies must depend on a trademark to give their business an identity. Slogans, logos and other identifying factors help people associate certain services or products to specific companies.
A company undergoing a trademark dispute is in a struggle for its very identity. Fortunately, a business litigation attorney can help a company resolve a trademark dispute by negotiating license agreements, seeking damages and obtaining court orders to stop trademark infringement.
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