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The Grinch Who Stole Cascadia
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cmadd



Joined: 29 Jun 2011
Posts: 251
Location: Toronto, ON

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:00 am    Post subject: The Grinch Who Stole Cascadia Reply with quote

I just wanted to increase awareness about an issue in the BC craft beer scene that deserves attention. The TLDR is that Steamworks Beer has a trademark on the term 'Cascadia' and is sending Cease & Desist letters to BC breweries that sell 'Cascadian Dark Ale's. It's dirty and I hope no brewery pays him a dime. For more information:

http://barleymowat.com/2012/11/22/the-grinch-who-stole-cascadia/

as the blogger mentions it could help to voice your concern through social media outlets:

https://twitter.com/steamworksbeer
https://www.facebook.com/SteamworksBeer

Thanks!
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JeffPorter



Joined: 26 Jul 2011
Posts: 2381
Location: Brampton, ON

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lots of stuff on his FB page to which I just added...just wondering - is this kind of like a "Granite" place? Or is it bigger?
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Kel Varnsen



Joined: 25 May 2009
Posts: 581
Location: Ottawa

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:10 am    Post subject: Re: The Grinch Who Stole Cascadia Reply with quote

cmadd wrote:
I just wanted to increase awareness about an issue in the BC craft beer scene that deserves attention. The TLDR is that Steamworks Beer has a trademark on the term 'Cascadia' and is sending Cease & Desist letters to BC breweries that sell 'Cascadian Dark Ale's. It's dirty and I hope no brewery pays him a dime. For more information:

http://barleymowat.com/2012/11/22/the-grinch-who-stole-cascadia/

as the blogger mentions it could help to voice your concern through social media outlets:

https://twitter.com/steamworksbeer
https://www.facebook.com/SteamworksBeer

Thanks!


I have been to steamworks once and from what I remember it is a pretty nice higher end place in downtown Vancouver, more like a mill street than a Granite.

The trademark thing doesn't bother me since it is not like this is the first time this kind of has happened. I mean try making a beer and calling it steam beer, and see how fast Anchor sends you a cease and desist (which makes me wonder if Steamworks has gotten into any trouble for using the word Steam).

Phillips out of Victoria had to change their main line beer from Blue Truck to Blue Buck after another BC brewery that had the name Red Truck trademarked threatened them with a lawsuit.

The interesting thing is this shows how even small or medium sized breweries are a lot of times businesses first, and when push comes to shove that camaraderie that brewers like to act like is there within their industry kind of disappears.
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boney



Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 1052
Location: Hamilton

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been to Steamworks a couple of times. More buisiness crowd than beer geek when I'm there, but the Oatmeal Stout is a must have.

Good luck trademarking a descriptor for a region. I'd fight it every step. Stramworks definitely isn't big enough to fight every BC brewer who would want to make and call their beer a CDA. I think even Granville makes a CDA. I'd be really amused if they tried to sue Molson-Coors.
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Tapsucker



Joined: 28 Apr 2006
Posts: 1430
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if they will go after Netherworld?

It reminds me or the Red Racer battle a few years ago, though I think I heard it all got worked out among friends. More along the way we usually see craft operations behave.

IMHO, Steamworks is ok, but there are so many better places to drink in Vancouver. Probably the same reason I haven't been to the Biermarket in Toronto in years; why go through the hassle of all those yuppies when better beer is nearby?

Besides, if I want a stout to blow me away in Vancouver, Crannog's Back Hand of God is not that hard to find.
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JasonTremblay



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The trademark was registered in 1999 -- I'd have been pissed if he had tried to get the Cascadia trademark like 2 years ago (shortly after the BYO article that introduced the term "cascadian" to the wider world https://www.byo.com/stories/beer-styles/article/indices/11-beer-styles/2072-birth-of-a-new-style-cascadian-dark-ale ) ... but, seriously.

Burning up good will with other brewers or not, the word "Cascadia" (and its close derivatives) are Eli's. That's the way the game works. You use the name, and you defend it, or you lose the mark.

It's a pity that the American gentlemen who pulled the name out of a hat didn't consult CIPO's database, but stuff happens.

The whole story seems to be MORE about some blogger stirring the pot for page hits than it is about beer.

Jason
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Belgian



Joined: 04 Jul 2004
Posts: 7851
Location: I Heart TO

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cascadia is a large region of Western north America, is it not?

But I guess you can trademark some region like Bohemia (or, in the case of A-B Budweiser you can copyright the Germanicized version name of Ceske Budejovice, an actual town that made the original NAMESAKE beer of the very name A-B stole.)

It reeks like scum though. The Craft Beer movement cannot afford to work against itself, with the one company trying to succeed by pushing down others.

Cautionary tale: A guitar pickup manufacturer, Larry DiMarzio managed to alienate nearly all Les Paul guitar players with one such 'copyright' - the cream-colored Gibson-style humbucking pickup. DiMarzio didn't even originate the look or the design, that's just how some original Gibson pickups looked in the 1950's and he wanted to force ALL buyers of cream-colored pickups to buy HIS shit.
It backfired. There is a serious stigma to DiMarzio products now, regardless of how well they may function. People now think he's hateful scum.
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Derek



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
Posts: 3079
Location: Kelowna, BC

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's their response:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2vlcc7yncfcelgn/CascadiaResponse.pdf

I don't think styles should be trademarked... but they're playing nicer than Anchor with their "Steam".
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cmadd



Joined: 29 Jun 2011
Posts: 251
Location: Toronto, ON

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a pretty decent response. So, now I wonder if Chuck wasn't just stirring the pot. The way he wrote the post made it seem as though brewers had personally told him they were pissed.
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boney



Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 1052
Location: Hamilton

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, called it with Granville Island, but had it backwards. Sounds like Steamworks are a reasonable bunch of fellas. Still, it would be a pretty interesting legal battle. TM'ing Cascadian in context to beer is akin to TM'ing Franconian in relation to a reisling or other grape.
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Derek



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
Posts: 3079
Location: Kelowna, BC

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Steamworks. The Oatmeal Stout and Nirvana Nut Brown have always been great. Tak has tweaked the IPA a bit and it's a decent, modern, PNW brew.

Personally, I don't think they should've been able to trademark the name in the first place. I hate crap like this. But they did, and now they own it.

That said, I think it would be hard to argue that a consumer would ever be confused... it's a rarity in the brewpub, and it has never been bottled!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confusion_in_Canadian_trademark_law

But it is getting interesting... the anti-Molson spin puts a smirk on my face!

What would be the best outcome? Everyone drop the trademark crap, team up and release a Steamworks/Granville MINGLER.
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Derek



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
Posts: 3079
Location: Kelowna, BC

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More ramblings...

http://eastsidebeer.blogspot.ca/2012/11/thats-how-it-is-done-paying-attention.html?spref=fb
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Kel Varnsen



Joined: 25 May 2009
Posts: 581
Location: Ottawa

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JasonTremblay wrote:
The trademark was registered in 1999 -- I'd have been pissed if he had tried to get the Cascadia trademark like 2 years ago (shortly after the BYO article that introduced the term "cascadian" to the wider world https://www.byo.com/stories/beer-styles/article/indices/11-beer-styles/2072-birth-of-a-new-style-cascadian-dark-ale ) ... but, seriously.

Burning up good will with other brewers or not, the word "Cascadia" (and its close derivatives) are Eli's. That's the way the game works. You use the name, and you defend it, or you lose the mark.

It's a pity that the American gentlemen who pulled the name out of a hat didn't consult CIPO's database, but stuff happens.

The whole story seems to be MORE about some blogger stirring the pot for page hits than it is about beer.

Jason


Yea I am sort of on the side of the brewer here. I mean if they have had the trademark since the 90's why shouldn't they defend it? It costs money for them to register it. Yes cascadia is region, but so is Muskoka, but the muskoka brewery would probably also be issuing cease and desist letters if someone tried to start a brewery with Muskoka in the name. Hell Molson almost certainly has the name "Canadian" trademarked. And like one of the other posters mentioned, if you don't defend your trademark you lose it. Which is why you see things like "Band-Aid Brand Bandage'.
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JeffPorter



Joined: 26 Jul 2011
Posts: 2381
Location: Brampton, ON

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And it's true - a point that completely slipped my mind - they need to use it or lose it. So the idea of charging breweries a dollar for the license makes sense and is quite reasonable.
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ritzkiss



Joined: 13 Jul 2009
Posts: 443
Location: East York, Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's be honest - as we see the big players like Molson infringe on craft territory/market and try to throw their weight around, its going to strain what has been collegial relationships among craft brewers & push craft brewers into defensive mode. It sounds like Steamworks reacted to Granville & went into defensive mode, other craft brewers thought they pushed too hard, Steamworks looks for other ways to fend off Molson & still keep their trademark, while working to keep the collegiality. Sounds to me like a tough situation to be in & they're working to strike a balance. But expect to see more cracks like this I imagine...
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