Descriptive Phrases Are For Everyone’s Use – Vanilla Java Porter Denied Trademark Registration

Some bad news for Atwater in its quest to trademark “Vanilla Java Porter” is good news for those hoping ingredients and styles and variants don’t end up receiving registration forcing breweries to have to challenge registrations to get them undone in order to use common terms in their labeling.  You’re correct if you think this […]

7th Circuit: Indiana’s Wacky Prohibition of Distributors Selling Both Beer and Spirits Has Rational Basis: Increased Cost to Consumers

You might not believe it unless you look like this: But Indiana’s current bar against beer wholesalers selling liquor or liquor wholesalers selling beer was just held constitutional because the state claims its “rational basis” was the increase of pricing to stem alcohol consumption. In Monarch Beverage Co., Inc. v. David Cook et al., Monarch […]

6th Circuit Slams Distributor’s Attempt to Transfer Craft Beer Brands Without Brewer’s Consent

It’s a fairly typical clause in most distribution agreements, if not specifically stated in most state beer franchise laws – a promise that your distributor won’t transfer the franchise or the business (you want both and you’ll see why in a second) absent the brewer’s consent (which will not be “unreasonably” withheld).   The 6th Circuit […]

FDA Postpones Compliance Date for Nutrition Facts Labeling

The FDA released a guidance document announcing it will delay the upcoming deadline for food companies to implement updated Nutrition Facts labeling changes that require some increased font sizes for calories and servings along with mandatory disclosure of added sugars, potassium, and Vitamin D and removing the Vitamin A and C requirements.  You can read […]

It’s Official – Trademark Prohibition on “Disparaging” Marks is Unconstitutional

Here’s the opinion released in USPTO v. Tam.  More to follow along with the assessment as to how this decision might impact other government regulations that place prohibition on “disparaging” or even “offensive” commercial speech.  In parsing through this multi-part-concurring opinion, it appears the decisive factor is the First Amendment analysis offered in Part II […]

FDA Sued By Consumer Advocacy Groups for Allowing Corporations to Skirt Regulatory Process For GRAS Designations

The Center for Food Safety, Environmental Defense Fund, Center For Science In The Public Interest, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Environmental Working Group have filed a lawsuit against the FDA (you can read the complaint here) alleging that the FDA’s rule for Substances Generally Recognized as Safe (the “GRAS” rule) is undermining the integrity of the […]

Second Circuit Puts Thumb On Scale Bringing Back Whole Foods Overcharging Case

The plaintiff brought this class action alleging that Whole Foods systematically overstated the weights of pre-packaged food products and overcharged customers as a result.  The products are prepackaged cheeses, cupcakes, the items weighed add priced prior to shelving – where the prices is based on the weight of the food.  The complaint had cited a […]

Enforcing And Monitoring Quality Control In Your Licensed Food and Beverage Products – A Smidgen of Inspection May Be Enough

The Northern District of Illinois recently issued an opinion in a trade dress case between two french press coffee manufacturers that should serve as a reminder to everyone licensing trade dress to third-parties that crafting decent contractual quality control principles is only half-the battle in defeating claims that you’ve granted a naked license that could […]

Dissent In Texas Three-Tier Case Contains Powerful Indictment Of Strict Enforcement Of Cross-Tier Ownership

As you all probably have heard, in Cadena Commercial v. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Texas Supreme Court recently weighed in on the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s decision to deny a license for retail sales to a group of convenience stores that wanted to sell alcohol because through a chain of ownership, one of the […]

Naming Your Product Or Restaurant After An Element From A Larger Story? That’s Probably Trademark Infringement And You’re Probably Liable… Viacom Shuts Down Krusty Krab Themed Restaurant Infringing on SpongeBob Universe

We’ve written before about the potential liability associated with using some famous reference to a movie or a book as the name of your business or product.   Just think about it for a second, there’s a reason you want to use the name.  The association you’re looking to achieve between your product and the […]

Brooklyn Coffee Shop Sues Starbucks Because Unicorn Drinks Were So Last Year

In typical Brooklyn fashion, a coffee/juice shop in the borough says it was first on the Unicorn drink scene and arguing it developed, garnered favorable press attention for serving its Unicorn Lattes several months before Starbuck’s unleashed its Unicorn Frappuccino.   The End Brooklyn has filed a federal suit (you can read the complaint here) stating […]