Headwaters Brewing – Another Trademark Cautionary Tale

According to the Smoky Mountain News, the (formerly) Headwaters Brewing Company has given up its brewery name because of threats by Victory Brewing Co.  The brewing company will now go by the name, BearWaters.  Interestingly, BearWaters had apparently started using the Headwaters name before Victory.  Victory, however, had procured a federal trademark registration.

“I gambled,” co-owner Kevin Sandfeur said. “But in the long run, it ended up costing me more.”

As I have mentioned before, the minimal cost of preparing and filing a federal trademark application is minimal.  The filing cost is currently set at between $275-325 (subject to change).  The cost incurred by Sandfeur and his partners includes both measurable (i.e. new signs, advertising, etc.) and immeasurable (the name recognition they established).  For a startup brewery, these costs can be a killer.

Thanks to Adam at beerpulse.com for bringing this article to my attention.


About Dan

Daniel Christopherson of DCBrewLaw.com 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.
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