Bear Republic is Safe

The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently ruled against E. & J. Gallo’s attempt to register the mark ‘Bear Republic’ for wine based upon the registered mark Red Rocket Ricardo’s Bear Republic Ale & Design for beer and ale as registered by Bear Republic Brewing Company in Healdsburg, California.

The Board found in “numerous cases” that different alcoholic beverages “are related products which are sold in the same trade channels to the same classes of purchasers, including to ordinary consumers, and that confusion is likely to result if the goods were to be sold under similar marks.”

Gallo contended that they are “dramatically” different in appearance, given the presence in registrant’s mark of “a prominent drawing of a rocket in take-off, handwritten script, three different text sizes, a drawing of a star, a banner, and a box enclosing the primary elements of the mark.” Gallo also argued that the words “Bear Republic” are weak because they suggest the state of California.

The Board, however, found that the dominant portion of the registered mark is the literal portion. Noting that brewery itself is named “Bear Republic Brewing Company, Inc.,” the Board pointed out that “Bear Republic” appears as registrant’s house mark on its website.