Branding and Trademark Disputes: 7 Things to Keep in Mind

Posted by Jason Gladfelter, M.A. on November 21, 2013  /   Posted in Articles

Of the challenges that craft breweries face, the dark cloud of trademark infringement is one of the ugliest for two reasons: a trademark dispute can cost time, money, energy and perhaps the business; and it is reminiscent of corporate industry, which upsets the camaraderie or community aspect of craft brewing.  Yet this cloud persists and can hover over any brewery. If it comes your way, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. While your business is a large personal investment, challenges against your trademark or brand (or accusations towards you of such) should not be taken as a personal attack.  Easier said than done, no doubt, but if this dispute turns personal, it can get ugly and lose focus of the original concern
  2. Most trademark infringements, real or perceived, are accidental. With so many breweries in operation today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find uniqueness in branding, naming and image.  An accused brewery may not intend infringement or harm.  This may sound trivial, but intent draws a line between hostility and honest mistake
  3. We all make mistakes, which are, by definition, accidental.  Most of us feel bad when we mess up and the last thing we need is scolding.  The best thing we can do is to learn from them and not admonish others for their mistakes
  4. Injuries of social media. Nothing can escalate a dispute more quickly, with more damage, over a wider area, than social media. The reward for using social media is minimal while the impact of damage is almost inevitable
  5. Talk it out.  While a cease and desist letter might be required, it is a cold and impersonal communication.  Yet, it is available at any time; if talking does not go anywhere a C/D letter remains an option.  Nothing to lose by talking
  6. Get help to talk it out.  This is where OvalOptions can help.  Sometimes disputes become heated exchanges, communication shuts down, and parties run to the courts, bypassing an important, and often overlooked, step.  Mediation and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods provide effective, cost efficient and sustainable solutions without negating one’s right to seek legal avenues.  ADR also helps maintain the communal nature of craft brewing
  7. In some cases, litigation may be appropriate.  While this can be a long, drawn-out and expensive option with no guarantee of positive results, it might be necessary.  This is not for OvalOptions to decide or advise.


OvalOptions is a conflict consulting organization dedicated to helping individuals, families and businesses find the most efficient and cost-effective means for dealing with disputes throughout the Denver Colorado Area

We have successfully helped businesses, families and communities find better options for resolving disputes in each of our four main services areas: business, community, family and court.

Contact Us to explore your Options

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