Topic Archives: Legal Issues

Posted in Brooklyn Brewing

Legal: Brooklyn sues Black Ops Brewing over Ops name

Brooklyn Brewery is suing Fresno’s Black Ops Brewing in the state of California. The focus of the suit is over the “Black Ops” name.

This source of the suit might be a little more obvious than brewery legal entanglements. Brooklyn Black Ops, (the brewery’s barrel aged beer that doesn’t exist, but does if you’ve seen the marketing) was first released in 2007. Brooklyn owns a trademark for Black Ops.

Recently, Black Ops Brewing applied for a trademark for the brewery name, but was denied the mark in July, due to the potential brand confusing with Brooklyn’s beer.  Brendan Palfreyman, lawyer friend of Beer Street Journal clarifies for us:

Brooklyn Brewery has a solid case here as its trademarks – BROOKLYN BLACK OPS and/or BLACK OPS – are similar to the BLACK OPS BREWING trademark.  This is especially true given that courts typically discount portions of trademarks that are merely descriptive of the associated goods and services, like “brewing” in the BLACK OPS BREWING trademark.  Also, notably, Black Ops Brewing applied for a federal trademark registration for its name, but the application was rejected based on Brooklyn Brewery’s trademark registration for BROOKLYN BLACK OPS.

Brooklyn Brewing mentions in the suit, a cease and desist was issued in August. Below, the proposed artwork for Black Ops Brewing’s Bayonet Brown Ale.