Innovation Brewing in Sylva wins round in trademark dispute with Bell’s Brewery

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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innovation_brewing_sylva_2015Innovation Brewing, a small craft brewer in Sylva, has won a significant round in the ongoing trademark dispute with Bell’s Brewery, the big Michigan-based brewer that filed a federal action against Innovation this spring. Bell’s aimed to stop Innovation from using its name, saying that the unregistered Bell’s ad slogan “bottling innovation since 1985” could lead to confusion among beer drinkers. The slogan isn’t used on any beer packaging.

In a Sept. 5 decision, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled on a motion in the ongoing dispute. Here’s a snippet from the decision, and the “Opposer” referenced here is Bell’s”

In sum, the Board finds that Opposer does not rely on newly discovered evidence that the term INNOVATION is descriptive of beer. Accordingly, because it does not demonstrate that the motion is timely, Opposer’s motion to amend the petition to cancel to add a claim of mere descriptiveness is DENIED.

This Innovation versus Bell’s dispute blew up on social media earlier this year, with many beer drinkers siding with the little guy, Innovation Brewing in Sylva. In Asheville, a market pulled Bell’s beer off its shelves, and the Bywater bar stopped serving Bell’s. Lots of folks also urged a boycott of Bell’s.

The furor has since died down. This decision on a specific motion in the case is clear. But the decision notes that ancillary proceedings in the case can now proceed. Those looking for lawyers to represent them in a similar case of trademark dispute may want to consider someone like this nyc business lawyer to do that.

Proceedings herein are resumed and dates are reset below.
Discovery closed
Plaintiff’s Pretrial Disclosures 10/18/2015
Plaintiff’s 30-day Trial Period Ends 12/2/2015
Defendant’s Pretrial Disclosures 12/17/2015
Defendant’s 30-day Trial Period Ends 1/31/2016
Plaintiff’s Rebuttal Disclosures 2/15/2016
Plaintiff’s 15-day Rebuttal Period Ends 3/16/2016


Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. chris September 11, 2015

    Like most things Asheville (full of $hit), Bells beer was back in bars whithin a month.

    I’m glad things are looking good for Innovation. I’m proud of my alumni and their amazing brewery. Best of luck in the future!

  2. John Root September 11, 2015

    Yipee for Innovation! Literally! Now I’ll need to wait another 6 months to drink a Bell’s so as to not fund Goliath! Is anyone in town serving Innovation regularly?


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