Trademark News & Screw-ups Shipyard files trademark lawsuit against Missouri brewery over ‘Shiphead’ beer

A very interesting trademark infringement case involving using one half of one trademark and another half of what is typically considered a "family of marks." Just like McDonald's has a stronger claim against any food items that start with "Mc"—even trademarking them, the plaintiff, SHIPyard, has a bunch of trademarks that end with "HEAD." The question is, would this be enough for them to prove likelihood of confusion with SHIPHEAD? The answer would probably depend on whether the defendant's Shiphead beer has similar can design to that of the plaintiff. If it does, then as a consumer, I'd easily be confused into thinking that SHIPHEAD beer, when placed next to, SHIPYARD, PUMPKINHEAD, MELONHEAD, and APPLEHEAD would come from the same source. As I've been saying, the more competitive the industry, the more important is the brand. Few industries today generate as many trademark disputes as the disputes between breweries. Plain and simple, you can't have a successful beer brand—unless it's trademarked. Plain and simple.

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