After lots of sturm and drang, it finally happened — sweeping tax law changes at the federal level for beer, wine and spirits. Imported and domestic. Bulk and bottled. Big and small. Craft and mass-market. Who gets the most benefit, credit, burden? Lots more to come.
We are happy to report that in recent months Jen Wright has joined the firm as a Legal Assistant. She will focus on trademark and other administrative law matters, working side by side with Dan, John, Lindsey and the rest of the team. Jen worked at a local college before joining the law firm. Rose Brown has joined us to take over as the Billing Assistant. In the past, Rose has helped run a local printing company. Leslie works with Rose and handles accounts payable and other bookkeeping functions.
In related internal news, Dan has relocated to work mainly from Denver, CO and Lindsey continues to work mainly from White Plains, NY.
The USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB) recently issued three relevant decisions to the wine, beer, and spirits industries. The decisions are summarized below.
- In In re Harlequin Enterprises Limited, Serial No. 86761280 (September 7, 2017) [not precedential], Applicant (Harlequin Enterprises Limited, a purveyor of romance novels) sought to register a design mark (similar to a book spine) that contained the terms VINTAGES BY HARLEQUIN (with the term “VINTAGES” disclaimed) for wine in International Class 33. The Examining Attorney originally issued a refusal under 2(d) of the Trademark Act on the grounds that Applicant’s mark resembled prior registration for the mark HARLEQUIN for liqueur. Applicant appealed to the TTAB and argued that its fame in connection with romance novels made the potential confusion between Applicant’s wine and Registrant’s liqueur unlikely. The Board found that the evidence presented by Applicant was “impressive and undisputed” in regard to the fame of the mark HARLEQUIN with respect to romance novels. See id. at 3. While the Board accepted and did not dispute that Applicant’s fame for the mark HARLEQUIN for romance novels, the Board argued that fame did not make confusion unlikely. Further, the Board said that the marks and devices used in promoting Applicant’s wine (which were not reflected in the drawing page for the proposed registration) were irrelevant to the Board’s analysis.
How to complete the Owner Officer Information (OOI) questionnaire (for a TTB Permit Application)
This guide walks you through how to complete an OOI through TTB’s Permits Online system. Each of the sections can be expanded.
Who must complete an OOI?
First, log onto Permits Online and create a Permits Online Account (or login to your existing account).
Tip 1: You have a choice of having each owner/officer create their own Permits Online account, or sharing a single login for each owner/officer to complete their OOI. One benefit to filing all OOIs under a single account is that you will have all of the OOI tracking numbers handy when you need to plug them into your federal basic permit application (i.e., Brewer’s Notice, Bonded Winery, Distilled Spirits Plant, Wholesaler/Importer, etc.).
Daniel Christopherson is a beer and trademark attorney at Lehrman Beverage Law. He is an avid craft beer enthusiast who helps new and established breweries develop their business models, comply with the TTB and FDA, and protect their intellectual property.
Dan Christopherson and Withers Hurley have joined the firm in recent months. Dan is a trademark and beer lawyer with at least 7 years of relevant experience as a lawyer. Since graduating law school in Denver in 2007, Dan has visited at least 400 breweries (and some wineries too).
Withers is a billing assistant and has wide experience in helping to run small firms. She was raised within a few miles of the office, and ran a busy and one of the earliest e-commerce websites. We welcome Withers and Dan and look forward to them making things easier for us and our clients.
TTB shut down most operations on October 1, 2013. Even before that, many labels and formulas and permits were substantially jammed up. When TTB comes back, the detays are likely to be brutal. More details here.