Our country’s legal system continues to amaze and befuddle me. Just a week after we heard news that Georgetown Brewing is renaming their 9LB Porter due to trademark issues, local upstart Black Raven Brewing just received news that they lost a battle to trademark their brewery name. Ravenswood Winery, which is owned by Franciscan Vineyards, essentially claimed ownership of the word “raven” in all alcoholic beverages and won. Black Raven fought this battle for two years, but in the end they lost their appeal.
It is important to understand that at this point Black Raven has not been issued a cease and desist letter to stop using their name. They have just been denied a trademark on their name because the court ruled that trademark would infringe on Ravenswood’s trademarks. For now, nothing happens. Beaux, Kat and Andy will just have to hope for the best at this point and keep churning out world-class beer (Wisdom Seeker is available at the brewery starting today!).
Sadly, these stories are getting awfully familiar. Not just in the northwest, but across the country. I shouldn’t need to point out how amazingly insane this is.
Here is a link to all of the court documents from the Trademark Trial at the Patent and Trademark Office.
To sum up the decision in the Appeal Board’s own words:
We conclude that consumers familiar with opposer’s wine sold under the opposition No. 9118175522 mark RAVENS, would be likely to believe, upon encountering applicant’s mark BLACK RAVEN BREWING COMPANY for beer, that the goods originate from or are associated with or sponsored by the same entity.