Atlas Cider Co., out of Bend, OR, will be changing their name to “Avid Hard Cider” after Atlas Brew Works challenged use of the name. Atlas Brew Works, a brewery out of Washington, DC, felt that the name Atlas Cider Co. was confusingly similar to their mark. At the end of the day, Atlas Cider Co. changed their name in order to avoid potential legal conflict.
With the boom of craft brewing, boutique wineries, and the growth of craft distilling in recent years, trademarks in the beer, cider, wine, and spirits categories have become increasingly competitive. Further, case law has shown that even marks for non-alcoholic beverages may sometimes be considered confusingly similar with marks for alcoholic beverages.
That being the case, it has become especially important to have a trademark clearance search performed if you are a beverage company. Further, developing and protecting marks which establish the look and feel for your company, such as a logo, can act as another form of brand protection.
In the case of Atlas Cider Co. (soon to be Avid Hard Cider), for example, their distinct Atlas-themed logo will help them to hold onto some of their previous branding work, even though they will be changing the name.