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Craft Beer Trademarks: Dale Bros Brewing Forced to Change its Name

I’m a bit of a craft beer fan, and I’ve written quite a few posts in the past about issues related to craft beer trademarks. Recently, yet another brewery ran into an issue due to its name. Why did Dale Bros brewery in Upland, California have to change its name, and what was their clever solution?

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Dale Bros brewing was established in 2003. The business took hold and grew, and, in 2013, the owners decided to apply to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to register DALE BROS. BREWERY and DALE BROS as trademarks for beer. (Full disclosure time: I am friends with the attorney for Dale Bros, Candace Moon. She is an excellent attorney and a respected member of the craft beer community.)

The USPTO Examining Attorney rejected the Dale Bros applications on the grounds that there was a “likelihood of confusion” between their marks and two registered trademarks for beer owned by Oskar Blues Brewery: DALE’S PALE ALE and DEVIANT DALE’S. The former has been in production since at least 1998, the latter since 2010.

On behalf of Dale Bros, Candace Moon argued that the marks were dissimilar and that there was little likelihood of consumer confusion. The USPTO Examining Attorney rejected this argument.

Rather than continue to fight this ruling, Dale Bros admitted defeat, abandoned their trademark applications, and, on May 1, 2016, announced a new brand for their brewery: [Last Name] Brewing. Clever, huh? You can check out their offerings at their new website: lastnamebrewing.com.

They have applied to register [LAST NAME] BREWING as a trademark, and the application has been approved. Best of luck to the Dale brothers on their newly renamed venture. And remember: whether you’re naming a craft brewery or any other type of business, do your trademark due diligence before launching with that brand name.

Thanks to my friends Richard Ross and Sarah Jaques-Ross for letting me know about this story. Next round is on me!

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