News:

Narrowing the international class for your alcohol beverage brand, products, or services for which you seek trademark protection is a rather straightforward decision; it comes down to either international class 32 for beer or international class 33 for all other wine and spirits. But what about the description of goods and services? In order to define the scope of your trademark rights, the USPTO requires that you provide a description, or “identification” of the goods and services that the mark will be used on or in connection with. Trademark examiners are not only comparing the similarity of marks, but how the marks are used on the same or similar goods and services within the same or similar channels of trade. Thus, the description is important because the USPTO will use it to decide whether there is a conflict between two marks, or whether the specific goods or services descriptions are different enough to distinguish the two marks and their varying uses. In general, the USPTO has taken the position that all alcoholic beverages are related, and relatedness of products is a major factor in determining whether two trademarks conflict. However, a proper description of goods and services can sometimes differentiate two alcohol beverage marks registered in the same international class. Many trademark applicants wish to obtain registration for goods and services in the broadest sense possible, with the hopes of securing the most protection for their mark. This technique may prove successful for applicants with a completely novel or fanciful mark in an…

  Senate Bill 51-49 includes a two-year version of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, which cuts the federal excise tax on spirits, wine and beer, allows in-bond transfers of bottled spirits and provides for the expensing of certain costs related to the aging process of alcohol. The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act creates a tiered excise tax rate for distilled spirits, a shift from the flat $13.50 per proof gallon rate. The rate of tax is lowered to $2.70 per proof gallon on the first 100,000 proof gallons of distilled spirits, $13.34 for all proof gallons in excess of that amount but less than 22,130,000 proof gallons, and $13.50 for amounts greater. Like many others in the alcohol industry, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is experiencing the effects of the Act. Sizeable federal excise tax reductions on beer, wine, and spirits will undoubtedly impact the TTB’s regulations in one way or another, but for the moment TTB officials are still trying to narrow the practical implications of the Act which went into effect January 1, 2018. TTB has not yet released guidance but their website reads “On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which makes extensive changes to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, including provisions related to alcohol that are administered by TTB. Those changes are effective January 1, 2018. We are currently assessing the impact of these changes on TTB forms, regulations,…

Posted in ACSA, alcohol beverage law, Craft Spirits, TTB | Tagged Ashley, Congress, Craft, FET, TTB | Comments Off