Come out and attend one of the ILCC and TTB informational seminars on June 13

At yesterday’s Illinois Liquor Control Commission board meeting, the director said that in addition to discussing federal trade practice rules and some issues concerning the ongoing investigations that the entities are engaging in, the upcoming June 13 learning sessions hosted by the TTB in Chicago regarding trade practices would be jointly hosted by the ILCC and […]

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 […]

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 […]

Oral Argument Audio Available in Craft Brewers’ Franchise Dispute Over Distribution Termination In Ohio

The Sixth Circuit held the oral argument yesterday in the dispute between Southern Glazer’s and two craft brewers (Great Lakes Brewing and Boston Beer Company) looking to terminate their distribution relationship.   You can listen to the argument here: We’ve written about this case a few times here and here noting that it is an […]

Nevada Case Questions How Egregious Distributor Behavior Has To Be To Amount To Good Cause For Termination of Franchise Rights

Franchise laws enslaving brewers to distributors often have vaguely worded “good cause” terms allowing a brewer to terminate a relationship when this beneficently named justification exists. A frequent criticism of these statutes is that when a distributor has acted in a fashion that would allow for termination under regular contract principles, these laws force brewers […]

Will Lee v. Tam End The TTB’s Censorship of Beer Wine and Spirits Labels Found Obscene or Indecent?

As the US awaits a verdict in Lee v. Tam – a trademark dispute challenging a section of the trademark act (15 U.S.C. 1052(a)) refusing trademark registration for marks that are deemed immoral or scandalous, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s implementation and application of those restrictions – it would benefit us to be […]

Inflating Your Products’ Online Reviews Could Subject You to Suits For False Advertising and Unfair Competition

A good lesson in considering the method by which you garner online reviews and some valuable guidance for companies in conducting their online activities. This decision from a federal court in Utah in a Lanham Act suit between two vitamin companies provides a decent roadmap for how not to garner increased positive online reviews and […]

Millercoors Wins “Not From Australia” Lawsuit Over Claims That Foster’s Marketing Misleads Drinkers

In one of latest wins for brewers against deceptive labeling lawsuits brought against domestically made beers over branding that arguably conveys they are imported, Millercoors has scored a win for its Foster’s brand against a putative class action looking to cash in against the company.  The lawsuit (you can read the amended complaint here) alleged that […]

North Carolina Proposes Some Common-Sense Amendments to Modernize Its Brewing Laws That Advance Rights for Craft Brewers In the Face of Changing Times

Jim Koch (of Boston Beer fame) wrote an excellent polemic for the New York Times last week questioning some American attitudes towards beer.  A salient point from that article was that many state distribution laws developed over time from the end of prohibition and haven’t been updated since the 1970’s.  These distribution statutes were created […]

Online Wine Retailer Wins Case Against False Claims Assertions Over Failure to Collect Local Taxes For Sales

In a recent win for online wine retailers (not wineries selling direct), the Illinois appellate court has upheld the dismissal of an action against online wine retailer Winetasting.com alleging it violated Illinois’ False Claims Act (740 ILCS 175) in failing to collect and pay the local retailer’s occupation tax for the municipality where the wine […]