In yet another brewery trademark case, this week it was announced that Kettle and Stone Brewery based in Boulder will be changing its name. The reason? Stone Brewing Co. out of California believed that the name could be confused with its more established brand.

This isn’t the first case that has involved breweries. In the last few years, cases have surfaced in the news about Strange Brewery out of Denver, Oskar Blues out of Longmont, and Left Hand Brewery out of Longmont. One of the more notorious cases even resulted in a new beer – Collaboration Not Litigation was the result of two breweries who combined their same named beers rather than go to court over the matter.

So how do you make sure the name you want to use isn’t going to infringe on someone else’s name? The first step is to do a basic Google search of the name. If when you search for the name you want to use, it comes up in Google as being used by someone else in the same or similar industry you probably want another name. The second step is to do a search through the USPTO. Again, if the name comes up as being used in the same or similar industry, probably another name is best. However, if you don’t find anything then the next step is to talk to an attorney that works with trademarks. The attorney can have a formal trademark search run to see if there are any issues and help you through the trademark process.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me, your Denver Small Business Attorney, at 720-258-6647.