Stoke Brewery drops a bomb

Sigh. It’s happened again.
We missed this one as it was lodged under ‘bottle’ not beer.

Stokes Brewery has registered the term ‘Bomber’ as a trademark when used to refer to a bottle.

In the States and elsewhere a 22 oz bottle has always been referred to as a Bomber and of course the term has been used more loosely to refer to a larger bottle. Well, not in NZ any more, where IPONZ, the Government Agency who’s strap line should be “Carving up the English language wholesale”, have yet again granted a registration on a term that’s already in general use.

It seems ridiculous, but we now have people watching the IPONZ listings to try and prevent any similar registration attempts. We are a craft beer organisation, not a intellectual property law firm, but no one else seems to want to do it!

Details of registration (PDF)

About Martin Bulmer
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  1. This is unbelievable. I was all for blaming IPONZ but I’m starting to change my tune.
    DB the faceless corporate I can sort of understand, but Stoke? How can you McCashins sleep at night? It’s inexcusable, unnecessary, unjustifiable.
    Boo to yourselves, a pox on your family.

  2. Barney, Barney, Barney….who in NZ was using this name “Bomber”? Stoke (and the McCashins) are are small company trying to champion Craft Beer and all that goes with it within NZ, so if they see a name suits their product to a T (Veľká plavidla pivo for example) and launch that, then want to protect it from the Faceless Corporates who would no doubt copy it in a second – why can’t they?

  3. I am very disapointed to be reading this. I have been a big supporter of McCashins, Emma is inspirational in her drive to promote craft brewing and their business. This however is deplorable. Stepping up and trademarking a name like bomber is an insult. I am an ex-pat American, and I have been drinking bombers for years. They have now ruined it for any other american brewer, who would like to fondly refer to their product and packaging, and set themselves apart from the packs. Bomber and growlers are to the US as riggers are to NZ. Trademarking it in an attempt to corner a legal market and have the ability to sue another party from using it is bullsh*t. Trademark a name and a brand not a type of package. Gene Simmons of KISS is buying up the Trademark rights to as many household names as he can, so he can sue people for money, or sell them the right to use it. That kind of thinking is what is undermining freedom of speach and our personal creativity. Shame on them all.

  4. This video is well worth a watch to help understand how the copyright laws evolved and corrupted

  5. If you have a login to the IPONZ website you can subscribe to updates on Trade Marks. Setup your login – you can logon as an individual, and then on your IPONZ inbox you will see a navigation menu on the left. Go to My Subscriptions

    Click to add a goods and services subscription. Search for the word Beer and then select all the terms it brings back. Choose how frequently you want the updates and submit.

    From then on, any time someone submits a trade mark application which covers beer you will get notified. Watching all IP applications is therefore not hard at all.

  6. I’m torn on this, between the ideal, and real life.

    Ideally IPONZ and the likes wouldn’t issue trademarks on silly things such as beer styles and bottle sizes. Realistically, they do.

    If Stoke didn’t, would an big brewery? Would they then prevent craft brewers from using it? What if this happened after Stoke or others were using the name Bomber a la radler?

    It’s a touchy issue but it’s not Stoke’s fault that the trademark laws are in the state they are.

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