Giants in the Alcoholic Beverage Industry
Some companies are known for filing oppositions to trademark applications on a regular basis. E & J Gallo Winery, Azerac Company Inc., and Anheuser-Busch LLC are in the top 10 “Heckler” List by Trademarkia. These giants in the alcoholic beverage industry routinely file oppositions. On one hand, they are aggressively protecting their brand assets and intellectual property. On the other hand, they often bully small brands to stop using marks that were not problematic under principles of U.S. trademark law. It is often a simple David vs. Goliath situation.
What’s the cost to the small guys? It can be a high cost:
- Investment in the brand name logo creation
- Investment in product labels/packing
- Investment in product promotional materials and activities
- Investment in label & COLA registrations
- Investment in website
- Time & resources devoted to brand recognition
- Time & resources in the market to rebrand
- Legal fees
- Government filing fees
- Inertia created by rebranding & lost product sales
Experienced trademark professionals can defend opposition challenges, but can also predict whether such opposition activity is likely and position the application to successfully register right from the start. They can also assist in negotiating co-existence or settlement agreements to move a case forward if a challenge is raised. Trademark professionals can be a handy tool in your toolbox. Consider adding one to your management team or advisor team.
About Tracy Jong
Her book Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining and Maintaining a New York Retail Liquor License: The Definitive Guide to Navigating the State Liquor Authority will be available next month on Amazon.com as a softcover and Kindle e-book.
Her legal column is available in The Equipped Brewer, a publication giving business advice, trends, and vendor reviews to help craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries build brands and succeed financially.
She also maintains a website and blog with practical information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.
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Tracy Jong Law Firm