Craft beer is a growing industry. It is also an industry with many creative brand names – and many trademark disputes (Monster Beer, Old Ox logo, Solar Abyss, Shorebilly, etc.)

The trademark application filing statistics reflect the recent trends. See numbers below

Why is this important? As noted in a recent article from the Washington City PaperComing Up With a Beer Name is Harder Than Ever in An Industry Flooded With Trademarks.

I disagree strongly with one item in the otherwise excellent article:

Most smaller breweries can’t afford to trademark all their beers, just the flagship brands. “The only guys that really do a lot of trademarking are the big guys,” [3 Stars Brewing Company co-found Dave] Coleman says. “And that’s why you rarely see a little mom-and-pop brewery issuing a cease-and-desist to another little mom-and-pop brewery. It’s huge companies that have teams of lawyers in-house.

In fact, most small businesses – and breweries – cannot afford to skip trademark protection. As demonstrated by the headaches, bad media, costs, stress, and legal fees created by the many beer trademark disputes, spending a bit of money up front to help make sure a beer name is unique and protectable and filed with the USPTO is an incredible investment. The potential costs resulting from unprotected brands are tremendous. See my post The one trademark question that every small business owner should be asking.

 

Beer trademark filing statistics

 

USPTO Trademark Applications filed so far in 2015 for “beer or beers” and Class 32: 4800+

USPTO Trademark Applications filed in 2014 for “beer or beers” and Class 32: 4612

USPTO Trademark Applications filed in 2013 for “beer or beers” and Class 32: 3987

USPTO Trademark Applications filed in 2003 for “beer or beers” and Class 32: 854

USPTO Trademark Applications filed so far in 2015 for “stout or ale” and Class 32: 1276

USPTO Trademark Applications filed in 2014 for “stout or ale” and Class 32: 1112

USPTO Trademark Applications filed in 2013 for “stout or ale” and Class 32: 1107

USPTO Trademark Applications filed in 2003 for “stout or ale” and Class 32: 179

USPTO Trademark Applications filed so far in 2015 for “brewery” services: 114

USPTO Trademark Applications filed in 2014 for “brewery” services: 85

USPTO Trademark Applications filed in 2013 for “brewery” services: 105

USPTO Trademark Applications filed in 2003 for “brewery” services: 39

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