There is an almost infinitely long list of important things to consider, plan for and do before you open a microbrewery. Rather than attempt to compile that impossibly long list, we’re going to focus here on the name of your establishment and whether you will be able to include it in your intellectual property portfolio.
Don’t name it yet
Before you settle on a name for your microbrewery or brew pub, it makes sense to have an attorney conduct a trademark search to see if the name you’ve chosen is already being used. The lawyer will also help you learn if there is a name in use so similar to the one you’ve chosen that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is unlikely to allow trademark registration.
Don’t assume that your chosen name is ineligible for protection just because someone else is using the same word(s) you’ve chosen. If you want to open a Positive Aeration pub and the other entrepreneur has a Positive Aeration oxygen tank supply store, you might be allowed to register the trademark because consumers are unlikely to confuse the two businesses and what they offer.
After the search
If the trademark search has positive results, you can apply for trademark registration with the USPTO.
Of course, you can also register trademarks for your business logo, beer names and labels – if trademark searches show that they’re eligible.
Registered trademarks prevent others who conduct trademark searches from using your protected names and images and they help you protect your valued IP in litigation if need be.