Stone Brewing Company (San Diego, California) is no stranger to controversy. They have been involved in legislative disputes and other intricacies of doing business. Another controversy involves The Kettle and Stone Brewing Company. As you can see, this brewery uses the word Stone in its name. Well, Stone Brewing did not like this, so they sent a cease-and-desist letter to Kettle and Stone, who had been in business less than one year. The letter asked Kettle and Stone to change their name, or to stop expanding. Well, Kettle and Stone acted graciously, and changed their name to Vindication Brewing.
“What it means for us is when you stand tall on the other side of a huge obstacle in the first year of opening a business,” said Marty Lettow of Vindication. “Opening a brewery for us was more than an all-encompassing experience. We didn’t know what we didn’t know, and sitting down and spending a little bit of time with a trademark attorney so you understand what you’re doing is well worth the energy and the effort. It’s well worth your time.”
According to Sabrina LoPiccolo of Stone Brewing, “Intellectual property is something that may be protected and soon after Stone Brewing Co. was established in 1996, we set out to protect our identity (and integrity) by trademarking Stone Brewing Co. To this end, when an infringement on our intellectual property is identified, our first course of action is to approach those involved without lawyers to discuss and see what can be worked out.”
Vindication went through lots of time, money, and legal hassles to change their name, but they did it. While I certainly understand Stone’s point — after all, trademarks are valid and real, and for a reason — still, I feel bad for Vindication. A a new startup business, they had to immediately change their name. Although they have faced this struggle, they seem to be doing just fine.
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