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Brewery, beer-making store settle intellectual property dispute

A Massachusetts store that sells supplies for do-it-yourself makers of beer and wine saw an eight-month trademark dispute finally come to a close. The shop, Strange Brew, had targeted a Virginia craft brewery known as Strangeways Brewing in the business litigation after Strangeways attempted to register its name as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Strange Brew's opposition to the trademark request was filed in May 2013, shortly before the brewery started selling beer.

Strange Brew claimed that it was opposed to the use of Strangeways as a trademark because they felt it would damage the Massachusetts store's business. For their part, the brewery sued in federal court asking not only that its trademark be approved but also that Strange Brew's trademark be canceled since the latter did not sell beer. The settlement, details of which were not disclosed, allowed both entities to continue using their names as before.

The brewery owner was said to be pleased with the settlement. Shortly after the patent and trademark dispute as well as the federal suit were dismissed, he said that since there was no further opposition to Strangeways as a brand name, he could go ahead with using that moniker to sell his product. The owner of Strange Brew could not immediately be reached for comment.

Business litigation is a fact of life. Contract disputes like breach of contract as well as employment law issues can eat up an entrepreneur's time and money, so business owners need to have them handled properly. International business litigation may add another layer of complexity and red tape to doing business overseas. A legal professional may be of assistance in business disputes taking place inside or outside the courtroom.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Strangeways Brewing settles dispute with Massachusetts retailer", Randy Hallman, January 16, 2014

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