Monday, February 7, 2011

Beerings: Where beers and ears meet!

A partner and I sell earrings made from recycled ONLY beercaps. Because many of the caps bear trademarked/copyrighted names, are we in any sort of violation for turning trash into treasure and profit? We would like to know, before attempting to grow the business. You're probably fine selling recycled beer caps as earrings. Considering the proliferation of these types of products, it's unlikely that a beer company will risk the publicity of going after a crafts artist, and if they did, the beer makers might have a hard time winning. The companies would have to show that you're either diluting their famous trademark, or infringing them by confusing consumers -- for example, Michelob Ultra customers believe your earrings come from Michelob, not you. To be on the safe side, avoid focusing your collection on one particular beer company or otherwise creating the impression that any beer company is affiliated with your business. A disclaimer at your website may help ... something like, 'We are not associated with or endorsed by any beverage company.'
Were you going to use 'Beerings' as your mark? Others have sought to register 'Beerings' for jewelry but none have been successful so far (although one company registered it for the following goods: "Bejeweled articles in the nature of charms not containing precious or semiprecious gemstones, for attachment to beverage glassware for identification purposes." We're not sure what that's about and if you're going to try and claim the name, we'd recommend more research.