Trademark Office Tosses Phyllis Schlafly's Opposition To Her Nephew's Brewery Name Trademark Application
from the family-flies dept
We discuss trademark disputes centering on the beer and alcohol industry around here because that particular industry is finding itself at something of a barrier centered on how brews are named. Still, one story from a couple of years ago was particularly head-scratching. That story was that of Schlafly beer, made by Tom Schlafly's St. Louis brewery, and the opposition to his trademark application from his aunt and cousin, Phyllis and Bruce Schlafly repsectively. Both family members filed oppositions to the trademark application, claiming that having their last name associated with an alcoholic product would negatively impact them. Bruce is an orthopedic surgeon, making one wonder exactly how bone-shattering Schlafly beer actually is. Phyllis, meanwhile, is a super-conservative commentator with an audience particularly cultivated amongst Mormons and Baptists, therefore an alcohol product with her surname on it would be ultra negative for her commentating business.
I said at the time that the brewery was going to win this fight. And, now, it certainly appears that it has.
Earlier this month, the Patent and Trademark Office dismissed opposition filed by the St. Louis native and her son, Bruce Schlafly, rejecting the argument that a trademark shouldn't be allowed because it's primarily a surname, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The decision doesn't mean the trademark has been awarded to the brewery, but simply removes an impediment.
The primary argument within the original opposition was that the trademark shouldn't be allowed because it consisted primarily of a surname, but this was really all about the other Schlafly's dislike of the alcohol industry. And that, thankfully, is not a basis for a trademark opposition. The opposition was especially perplexing because a lack of a trademark registration has not to date, and would not in the future, prevent Tom Schlafly from selling Schlafly-branded beer. What it would do is prevent anyone else from also doing so, meaning that preventing the trademark would potentially allow more exposure for the name to be used on alcohol products, not less.
Despite the opposition running counter to Phyllis' desires, she apparently may not be done with this just yet.
Phyllis Schlafly, who will turn 92 on Monday, declined comment, but her son and attorney, Andy Schlafly, said he may appeal.
"I'm disappointed that the decision did not come to terms with the purpose of the statute that generally prohibits obtaining a trademark in a last name," he said.
Must be a fun Thanksgiving dinner at the Schlafly house these past few years.