Ohio Beer Counsel
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Bell's v. Innovation Brewing Litigation Update

Photo by sodapix sodapix/F1online / Getty Images
Photo by sodapix sodapix/F1online / Getty Images

The dispute between Bell's and Innovation Brewing over the applied-for-mark "Innovation Brewing" is ongoing in the USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.  However, Innovation recently won a battle in the long journey that is litigation.

As OBC previously reported, Bell's filed a motion seeking to compel Innovation to produce a 2nd company witness to answer questions and provide information.  Bell's also sought to amend its claim that Innovation's applied-for-mark was merely descriptive based on newly discovered evidence obtained in litigation.  The Board denied Bell's motions based upon the following.

First, lawsuits before the Board are governed, in part, by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  In certain circumstances, the Board may not grant a motion if it determines the moving party is "acting contrary to the spirit of" the Rules to the prejudice of the other party.  The Board determined Bell's delayed the filing of its motion to amend (3/20/15) because the proposed new claims were based upon facts within Bell's knowledge when it filed its opposition approximately a year earlier (4/14/14).

Second, in denying Bell's request for a second deposition of a company witness to answer questions, the Board found Bell's "grossly exaggerated" its basis for the deposition.  The Board commented requests for information should be limited to that which are "proper and relevant to the issues in the case."  The Board concluded Bell's "motion seeking additional testimony is a waste of its money and the Board's time."

Finally, the Board denied Bell's request to obtain the names/addresses of friends of Innovation's co-founders who expressed "personal opinions" regarding whether the applied-for-mark was likely to confuse.  Personal opinions of lay people are not relevant in the determination of likelihood of confusion and therefore, Bell's request was denied.

OBC will continue to provide relevant updates as they are available.