August 19, 2014

The 7th Consideration- Prepare Your Trademarks for Agent Battle

by Guest Blogger

[caption id="attachment_3522" align="alignright" width="160"]

Beer Label

This label was rejected for implying that beer will help your heart.[/caption]

Deep in the recesses of the federal government in a department of which few have heard, is as even lesser-known government agent, who simply goes by "Battle." He is an independent operator--the only man tasked with a critical mission. That mission? Reviewing the 30,000 or so beer label applications that are filed each year with the Tax and Trade Bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department.

Tim Mak at the Daily Beast recently wrote a fascinating piece about this man, Kent "Battle" Martin, who is apparently the scourge of beer producers all over the world. Battle doesn't just make sure the appropriate warnings are on the labels. He reviews the names and logos as well. According to Mak, some of Battle's rejections border on the absurd:

"[He] rejected a beer label for the King of Hearts, which had a playing card image on it, because the heart implied that the beer would have a health benefit."

"He rejected a beer label featuring a painting called The Conversion of Paula By Saint Jerome because its name, St. Paula's Liquid Wisdom, contained a medical claimâthat the beer would grant wisdom."

"He rejected a Danish beer label that featured a hamburger, which was turned down because the image implied there was a meat additive in the beer."

"He rejected a beer that was marketed as an 'India Dark Ale,' a takeoff on the IPA, because it implied the beer was made in India (even though the label had a line with the words 'Product of Denmark')."

Needless to say, being forced to change the name of your beer (or perhaps your company) at such a late stage of the process is a real kick in the pilsners.

In January, I wrote an article called 6 Considerations for Developing a Great Trademark, in which I discussed several (six, to be exact) questions to answer when developing a trademark for your new product or service:

(1) What is your particular brand?

(2) What word best expresses your brand?

(3) What typography conveys the feeling of your brand?

(4) What colors are consistent with your brand's personality?

(5) Should your trademark include a graphic, and if so, which graphic will best complement your brand?

(6) Will the trademark help distinguish your brand from the competition?

Given the revelations about Battle, I feel compelled to add a "7th Consideration," even if it may only apply to regulated businesses like pharmaceuticals, alcohol, or cosmetics. Before settling on a name for your business or product, you should also ask yourself:

(7) What are the regulations regarding the advertising of the goods or services?

If you don't make sure your name and logo comport with those regulations early in the process, Battle, or someone like him, will do it for you.

The lawyers at Trademarkology provide trademark registration services backed by the experience and service of one of the nation's oldest law firms. Click here to begin the process of protecting your brand name with a federally registered trademark.