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Daan advises Fortune 500 companies, startups and individual authors on trademark, copyright, right of publicity and right of privacy matters. Daan has gained high trust for his particular experience in managing domestic and international trademark portfolios and counseling clients with complex copyright issues.

Aside from the regulatory requirements imposed on beer labels, as discussed in the Anatomy of a Beer Label: Part I post on COLAs, brewers should consider protecting the trademarks featured on their beer labels.

Trademarks

Since every brewer has a brand, consumers most commonly encounter brewers’ trademarks in the form of a brand name or logo.  Trademarks serve as source identifiers to distinguish the origin of goods and services and avoid consumer confusion.  Typically, a trademark may be a word, phrase, design, or a combination of such items, though trademarks may also protect sounds, colors, and smells under certain conditions.  For a beer label, trademark law is best suited to protect the brewery name, sub-brand or inventive beer name, and any slogans or logos.
Continue Reading Anatomy of a Beer Label: Part II

A beer label tells consumers more than just what the bottle or can contains (e.g., brewed hops, grain, yeast, and water).  Labels inform consumers of important facts like the alcohol content by volume (ABV) and the net contents of the container, and may also provide insight on the flavor profile of the beer or the ethos of the brewery.  Some beer labels may even constitute works of art.  However, brewers should be aware that certain regulatory requirements apply to beer labels in the United States, and that certain forms of intellectual property can protect different aspects of beer labels.  This post is part of a three-part series, with Part I describing the regulatory requirements for a brewer’s beer label and the authorizations and protections those regulatory requirements confer.
Continue Reading Anatomy of a Beer Label: Part I

A recent decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) highlights the overlap between trademark law and food regulatory law as well as the United States’ and Europe’s different approaches to Geographic Indications (“GIs”).  GIs identify the particular location where an agricultural product (such as cheese, wine, or spirits) originates.

Interprofession du Gruyère, a Swiss association, and Syndicat Interprofessionnel du Gruyère, a French association, jointly filed a U.S. trademark application at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) on September 17, 2015 to register the term GRUYERE as a certification mark for cheese.  The Swiss association already owned Registration Number 4,398,395 for the certification mark LE GRUYERE SWITZERLAND AOC and Design.  In the new application, the French and Swiss associations sought to register the term GRUYERE as a word mark, meaning that they made no claim to a particular stylization or design.  In effect, if the USPTO granted registration of the French and Swiss associations’ application, the associations could prevent others in the U.S. from using the term “gruyere” on cheese made outside of the Gruyere region of Switzerland and France.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council and several other entities filed to oppose the associations’ application on the basis that the term “gruyere” is generic for a style of cheese in the U.S.  (In full disclosure, Emily was employed during part of this proceeding at the International Dairy Foods Association, another opposer in the case, and assisted it in this proceeding before joining Husch Blackwell.)  Most of the other entities ultimately withdrew their oppositions or the TTAB dismissed their claims.
Continue Reading The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Rules U.S. Cheesemakers Can “Say, Gruyere!”

U.S. trademark owners must file regular maintenance documentation with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to show that the owner is still using its trademark “in commerce” during the period leading up to the maintenance deadline. The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted businesses and some owners may have had to shut their doors or stop selling products. How do trademark owners maintain their trademark registrations if their businesses have been disrupted?

Continue Reading How to Maintain Trademark Registrations in a Pandemic