Bell's Brewery enters trademark tiff with N.C.-based Innovation Brewing


By: Danielle Waldron

Eric Strader

Michigan-based Bell’s Brewery is entering a trademark spat. 

Bell’s Brewery, which uses the slogans “inspired brewing” and “bottling innovation since 1985,” filed federal action against North Carolina-based Innovation Brewing, Citizen-Times reports.

Bell’s alleges the Innovation Brewing name could create confusion with Bell’s advertising slogan, “bottling innovation since 1985.” Innovation Brewing counters that the slogan is unregistered and isn’t used on packaging. 

Bell’s made more than 310,000 barrels of beer last year and distributes in 18 states, including North Carolina, WOODTV reports. By comparison,Innovation made roughly 500 last year, which is mostly sold in Sylva, N.C., according to the report. 

Nicole Dexter, one of Innovation’s founders, told the Citizen-Times that legal fees are preventing the purchase of new equipment, and she didn’t see any confusion in the slogans. 

Bell’s Brewery also uses the slogan “inspired brewing,” which is used on some of its marketing and merchandise. 

The dispute is pending in the U.S. Trademark Trials and Appeals Board in Virginia, Citizen-Times reports. 

The legal matter, however, is not a suit, according to a letter from Bell’s vice president Laura Bell posted on Bell’s website, but rather a request that Innovation withdraw its federal trademark application.

In the letter, Bell said she reached out to Innovation in February 2014 to try to settle the issue “brewer to brewer.” 

Follow digital producer Danielle Waldron on Twitter @DanielleWaldron
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