In 2013, the number of beer trade marks being granted totalled 1,331. This rose to 1,485 in 2014 and it is expected to rise again at an even higher rate this year. The rise has been attributed the rise in craft beers that attract the connoisseur of new tastes and quality beer and not just the usual off the shelf mass produced beer.
This is an encouraging sign for the beer industry as more craft beers are being made and brand names protected, however the downside to this is that the number trade mark disputes is likely to rise sharply over the next few years as brands try to fight for a competitive advantage.
London-based brewer Camden Town accused Norwich’s Redwell Brewery of imitating its Hells Lager brand. It sent a cease-and-desist letter to the smaller brewer and has applied for the trade mark ‘Hells Lager’.
Jeremy Drew, head of retail at RPC, said: “The craft beer industry in the UK has really taken off in the last few years with a surge in new independent breweries.”
“As different retailers and brewers begin to bump up against each other more frequently the need to protect their intellectual property in this lucrative beverage market becomes more obvious.”
Due to the increase in breweries and craft beer brands there is an increased likelihood that there will be brands that clash with similar names which will lead to lengthy legal disputes.