Cheers to beers

Monday 15 June 2015 is being designated “Beer Day Britain” in an initiative encouraging those involved in the industry to run events in celebration of British beer.

The campaign is seeking to engage with consumers, pubs, brewers, retailers and others having an association with British beer. The initiative includes a planned nationwide communal “cheers”, to take place at 12-3pm, where people are encouraged to order a pint or open a bottle as part of a national cheer.

The idea of a national day celebrating British beer reflects the current vibrancy of the British beer market, particularly that of the craft beer sector.

The number of breweries in the United Kingdom has risen significantly in recent years, as has the variety of beers available. UK consumers are seeking out not only new styles, but also beers from other countries – creating a huge range of opportunities as expected with such significant market growth.

Yet while there is no doubt that this has introduced an exciting, diverse and dynamic energy to the British beer sector, it is precisely that level of activity and diversity which now presents a challenging IP environment for brand owners and those operating in this market – particularly in terms of trade mark creation, clearance of new brands and enforcement issues.

The surge in numbers of those operating in the sector in the UK, together with the success of United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) initiatives to encourage businesses to protect their brands by filing trade mark applications, poses significant challenges. Much more marketing and legal creativity is now required to come up with new brand names which are not already taken – and the fact that the UKIPO does not refuse a trade mark application (even if an existing registration for that mark or something similar already exists) has significantly increased the need for trade mark owners to be vigilant in monitoring third party activity and taking action when appropriate.

Given that branding is so important within the food and drink sector, these are issues that should not be ignored. If you would like further advice about these challenges and how they can be tackled, please contact your usual Barker Brettell trade mark attorney.