Over on JD Supra, a legal magazine website, is an excellent article on Trademark registration. The article is written by Nancy PHam with Lane Powell PC, a law firm in the Pacific Northwest. Below is an excerpt of the article with a link to the full text as well.
“For microbrewers, taste and memorable names mean everything. Loyal customers often ask for specific brews and word-of-mouth advertising is indispensable, since microbrews are often purchased in local restaurants and bars.
Like many small businesses though, protecting your microbrewery brand and trademarks often raises a basic financial issue: Is it worth it? This brief article explores some cost-effective ways to build your own beer brand identity, while also guarding against the possibility that you may be infringing upon the already established trademark rights of others.
The “Knockout” Search
So, before you begin taking that home brewing hobby to the next level and coming up with the perfect name for your craft beer and perhaps your own brewpub, you should take advantage of some readily available resources to make sure that someone else has not already beat you to the punch.
What you’re undertaking is called a “knockout” search in trademark circles. Your goal is to find a brand name that is not confusingly similar to other products already on the market for beers or other products that may be related to alcohol or beer consumption. The goal of trademark laws is to prevent confusion among consumers as to the source or origin of products or services.
Read the rest of the article here.