Atlanta based bottle shop Ale Yeah! has found themselves in the crosshairs of a lawsuit with Raleigh, North Carolina based restaurant chain, Carolina Ale House (a division of LM Restaurants).
Ale Yeah! Craft Beer Market opened their doors in 2010 in Decatur, Georgia. The retail store, run by Eddie Holley and crew, sells craft beer bottles and growlers to-go. This week, Eddie Holley and business partner Francisco Vila were served with a lawsuit by LM Restaurants, according to North Carolina filings, dated August 5th.
Three years ago, Holley tried to trademark Ale Yeah! Craft Beer Market, and was opposed by Carolina Ale House, and LM Restaurants. Apparently, Ale Yeah! is used as a phrase on some of their menus. Carolina Ale House contends Ale Yeah! Craft Beer Market causes brand confusion with their patrons.
Other than having a location in Augusta, Georgia, more than 150 miles away from the nearest Ale Yeah! bottle shop, Carolina Ale House doesn’t do business in Georgia.
Eddie Holley tells Beer Street Journal that he feels this is a desperate attempt by LM Restaurants to try to bully Ale Yeah! Craft Beer Market out of the name, as there has been no solution to the trademark dispute.
Calls to LM Restaurants were not returned, however they have tweeted:
Vila and Holley filed for a trademark for Ale Yeah! in 2013, citing first use in commerce as 8/1/2012. LM Restaurants filed for a new trademark for Ale Yeah! in June of this year.
The suit specifies that LM Restaurants, Inc. wants Ale Yeah! to change their name.
Ed Note: Interestingly, when you search Ale Yeah!, no mention of Carolina Ale House restaurants appears.
When searching Carolina Ale House, a competitor’s brand – Miller’s Ale House, a Florida based chain appears, causing even more brand confusion if you ask us.
Even more interesting, Carolina uses “Chicken Zingers” on their menu, when Miller’s Ale House owns the trademark to the Chicken Zingers.