Battle of the Brands: Avoiding Common Trademark Pitfalls

As the number of craft beverage products has exploded, so too have the opportunities for trademark liability. With thousands of labels vying for attention, it’s becoming harder than ever for producers to nurture a strong, distinctive brand while simultaneously avoiding legal conflicts with their many competitors. Most beverage producers understand the important role that trademark rights play in internalizing the goodwill derived from the quality of their concoctions. Yet, misunderstanding abounds as to the scope of trademark protection and the many pitfalls that brand owners may encounter in a marketplace as dynamic and competitive as the craft beverage industry. 2015 saw a slew of beverage brands square off, both against one another and against others from outside the industry, over alleged unlawful similarities. From sharks to skulls to the font of “IPA,” makers found themselves forced to choose between costly rebranding efforts and the prospect of protracted litigation. This session will explore how to avoid common trademark mistakes while building the value of your brand.


  • Choose a strong brand from a trademark perspective
  • Evaluate whether your new marketing concept infringes existing IP rights
  • Solidify your rights and claim priority over your brand
  • Understand when to take action against a competitor



Chris McElwain

Attorney LaRiviere Grubman, PC