Portland’s Harvester Brewing is being forced to change its name by a California wine company named Hope Family Wines. According to Harvester, the maker of Liberty School, Treana, Candor, Austin Hope and Troublemaker wines “has decided that our use of Harvester will create brand confusion and has demanded that we change the name of our brewery, despite being in a different trademark class. Rather than spend time, money, and energy focused on a lengthy legal battle we have decided to ask our fans to help us choose a new name.”
Hope Family Wines finds the use of “Harvester” in any form “unacceptable” so ideas like New Harvester Brewing or G.F.Harvester Brewing will not be permitted by Hope Family Wines. We would like it if the new name worked well with our love of farming, farmers, and tractors so we can continue using our tractor logo but we will consider non-tractor related ideas too.
Harvester Brewing is a dedicated gluten-free craft brewery and gastropub founded in 2011. Harvester Brewing’s facility is entirely gluten-free; no gluten is allowed on the premises. Their beers are distributed in OR, WA, Northern ID, AB, and BC.
Oddly, I haven’t found anything that explains where Hope Family uses the trademark, but what really annoys me is that one can get a trademark for a name like “harvester” in the first place. That’s like trademarking “gardener” or “phlebotomist”. As far as I’m concerned, companies that do this are no better than patent trolls. At this point, even if I liked Hope Family wine, I wouldn’t buy it. Many years ago I used to buy Liberty School wine because it was fairly cheap and decent, but, from my experience, those days are behind them.
You’ll find more information and a link to suggest new names for Harvester here.
Re your TM knowledge, do you have a problem with “Apple” or “Amazon” or “Delta” many other regular words that are recognized by consumers as brand identifiers?
What about “Stumptown,” merely the nickname of a city, but also a well-known brand in coffee and used as a brand name by many other providers of other goods/services.
Likewise, in local restaurants, there are many examples, Should Aviary stand by and take no action if another Aviary opened in The Pearl District merely b/c “aviary” is a regular word?
The idea that a mundane word can serve as a valuable trademark is not controversial in the legal or brand/marketing fields, so long as the term does not have a flaw in context — for example, it is not generic (e.g., “apple” for fruit) or, in many cases, descriptive (“apple” for apple-scented shampoo).
But don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. As it turns out, there are many “Apple” businesses and at least two well-known “Delta” businesses (airlines and faucets), and, in fact, plenty of “Harvest” and “Harvester” businesses.
This “Harvester” matter is just one instance of a company making a claim, and the claim might be dubious because there is no likelihood of confusion among consumers. But whether it’s dubious has nothing to do w/ the premise that a regular word should not be entitled to TM protection.
I can’t find anything that shows there is even a trademark for Harvester Wines, much less any use of the term outside of describing an actual machine that harvests wine grapes . This includes the US Patent Offices official Trademark Search System at http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4805:ih0inn.1.1
It’s just the word ‘harvester’. Registration #3971248
Randy Ullon says
They have some association with http://www.urbanharvester.org too, but it’s still just trademark trolling. Their trademark registration clearly states that it does not include beer, “Alcoholic beverages (except beers)” so why should they prevent a brewer of beer for using the name especially given the use as a company name not a product name which is apparently how they have registered the tm. I despise crap like this. They own “troublemaker” as a wine too and you know “no one ever made a beverage and called it by that name”. Just trolls. Congratz on taking the high road, I’ll never purchase from Hart Family Wines or Treana Winery LLC again.