In a recent UK opposition decision. Brewdog have been denied trade mark registration for BREWDOG DOGHOUSE for brewing services and crucially, hotel accommodation services. Crucial because Doghouse is the name of the brand’s hotel in the US and according to many news reports, UK hotels are planned.
Brewdog filed a UK trade mark application for BREWDOG DOGHOUSE which was then opposed by Doghouse Distillery Limited on the basis of its earlier registration for:
The Hearing Officer concluded that the marks were at least similar to a medium degree and that some of the goods and services applied for by Brewdog were similar and so there would be a likelihood of confusion. As a result, Brewdog have had their application limited, and have been ordered to pay Doghouse Distillery costs of £328. Brewdog can appeal the decision and this seems likely given how crucial the name appears to be to their brand expansion.
Brand owners should consider their trade mark strategy in all countries of interest prior to launch. Much of the evidence submitted by Brewdog relied on their use of the name pre-dating Doghouse Distillery’s trade mark, however they neither opposed Doghouse Distillery’s application, nor applied to cancel the registration (yet). Had they applied for trade mark protection before their claimed first use date in October 2015, it would have pre-dated Doghouse Distillery’s trade mark which was not filed until August 2016. There are still things Brewdog can do to try and clear the way for their planned use of Doghouse for a hotel in the UK but not without further headache and cost.