Does Boston Beer Co. Really Intend to Use the NEW ALBION Trademark?

On June 6, 2012, the Boston Beer Corporation (makers of the very popular Sam Adams line of beers) filed a trademark application for the mark NEW ALBION BREWING COMPANY ALE.  The New Albion Brewing Company, which operated between 1976 and 1982 in Sonoma, California, is credited by many as the first “craft brewery” in the United States.  (Click here to read more about the history of the New Albion Brewing Company).

According to the website, www.beerpulse.com, the Senior Public Relations Manager at Boston Beer, Jessica Paar, indicated “the company has no plans, at this time, to release a beer under the ‘New Albion’ name.  Rather, Paar explains that the filing is about preserving history.”  The problem with this statement is that “preserving history” is not a valid basis under which to file a trademark application.  Instead, Boston Beer’s application was filed as a 1B (intent-to-use) application.  According to TMEP §1101, in order to file an intent-to-use application, an applicant must provide “[a] verified statement of the applicant’s bona-fide intention to use the mark in commerce . . . .”

It seems that Boston Beer’s comments and the verified statement they filed with the application might be seen as inconsistent.  This is a good example of the importance of making sure a company’s legal department reviews the public statements of its organization before they are released.

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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