Topsail Brewing Company Changes Name As a Result of Potential Trademark Dispute

by / Thursday, 05 December 2013 / Published in Blog

11536324_mlTopsail Brewing Company out of Fairfax County, Virginia is the latest brewery that is re-branding itself after becoming aware of a potential trademark dispute.  Topsail has changed its name to Fair Winds Brewing.  According to its new website, apparently as it was proceeding with a potential trademark registration for Topsail, another brewery based in Oregon informed it that it would challenge the registration and any other registration using “sail” in reference to beer or brewing.   Although Topsail did not believe there would be any likelihood of confusion, it has nevertheless decided to change its name to Fair Winds Brewing.  As the website indicates, “[s]ince our name is not crucial to our ability to develop and deliver excellent craft beer, nor for us to be able to provide a home brewer’s platform in the NoVA area, we have decided to change our name.”  This is somewhat reminiscent of Uinta’s situation a little over a month ago.  After being notified of potential marketplace confusion, Uinta decided to change the name of its IPA from Hop Notch IPA to Hop Nosh IPA – a small, but apparently satisfactory change for all parties.  Uinta’s position was essentially that the despite the name change, it will still be a consistently great beer.  Small changes, like from Notch to Nosh are probably going to pass like a ship in the night, but even if the beer stays the same, it will be interesting to see if breweries forced to make large-scale branding changes or frequent changes,  end up creating more marketplace confusion than what they are trying to avoid.