By Ashley Cloud
A little over a year ago, a small team of three, who already had a business under the name, Intrepid, decided to go into the beer business and call the beer by the same name. Upon doing a trademark search and not finding any other brewers with the name “Intrepid,” for beer or breweries, the team began working on production and operating under the name Intrepid, but did not file for a trademark application immediately.
Once they were ready to file their application, they came across another much larger brewer (who was known for buying up smaller breweries and taking over) who had filed an application for beer under the same name. When Intrepid originally approached the large company, they responded to requiring Intrepid to license the name from them, to not brew an IPA, to not use the name “Intrepid” on its own, and to only sell the beer domestically. Instead of complying, the small company decided to send an opposition to the application and the company backed off. Even though Intrepid may not have had rights under the Principal Register, it did have common law rights as they had already begun operating under the mark and had actually come across the opposing company’s beer in bars where their beer was also being sold.
This just goes to show that there is always a possibility that the smaller company may have a chance of beating out the big guys. If for no other reason, the larger companies would rather spend their money on production and operations costs than on legal battles. In this case, all it took was for this small company to file an opposition to the trademark application to allow them to stand their ground and continue selling their beer under the Intrepid name. How fitting that the first beer under the name since the incident is an IPA called “Trade Mark.”