Trademark disputes. They just keep on coming. Ever since the apocryphal Bass employee spent a night’s gainful employment shivering-in the New Year outside the patent office, different groups of beer-makers have come up with similar ideas for naming their brown foaming liquids. Recently, ‘cease and desist’ letters have been pinging around with more frequency than ever – remember the easy-to-pick-sides-for disputes of the past? Budweiser versus Budvar? I think we’ll look back on that as the golden age of knowing who to root for.
As we hurtle into 2014, tensions are straining in the other capital. Following Camden Town’s Christmas Eve effort to trademark the term ‘Camden’ to prevent Weird Beard releasing a beer named ‘Camden BearD’ [sic] – the gloves are off between the “aw shucks, thanks for lending us those kegs the other day” rosy world of ‘craft’ beer. Breweries merely a few years old are flinging the litigation about, to protect their intellectual property. As Camden Town can’t build hotels on what they own, they can resort only to stopping others from using that particular C-Word (Brodies are keeping quiet about Camden Town Brown IPA).
Leaving aside whether people would look at a bottle of Camden BearD and think it had anything to do with the Camden Town Brewery, can the hounds of litigation really be unleashed to ring-fence an entire London Borough? And if they can, is that right? There are now eight hundred breweries in London, so naming disputes are inevitably going to keep on occurring, as the beer-makers clack their beaks at each other like so many co-habiting nesting seabirds. But, having given this some thought; there is a possible solution at hand:-
– Each London brewery immediately changes its name to that of the nearest tube station. It’s that simple. Where more than one brewery inhabits a stop, the one that opened later is offered one of the brewery-free tube stops. These can also be traded, like a colossal board game.
As the oldest brewery in town, Fullers are first up, becoming Stamford Brook. Meantime switch to Cutty Sark Brewing Co (which might actually be a better name). Zero Degrees become Blackheath, which I think is a national rail station (I’m only doing this with Google Maps). Twickenham Fine Ales can stay as Twickenham, unless they want to become Strawberry Hill Fine Ales. And so on. Wouldn’t you like a schooner of Bermondsey London Sour? Bethnal Green Great Eastern IPA? Hackney Wick Black Betty? Cockfosters Saison Grisette Lemongrass? (Partizan having ‘relocated’ following Kernel’s claim to Bermondsey).
It could work. What of the two protagonists in this latest David vs David disagreement? Well, Weird Beard would become Boston Manor – surely no-one could have an objection to Boston Manor BearD? Certainly not Camden Town, as their nearest station is…er…Kentish Town West.