The legal row between Innovation Brewing in Sylva and Bell's Brewing from Michigan serves as an example of the murky waters of “intellectual property.” The “property” the two craft brewers are haggling over is the word “innovation” and its subsequent trademark usage. Bell's has been applying legal pressure for Innovation to rescind their federal trademark application because the word innovation is also used on a Bell's bumper sticker. There are also, to date, 2,172 other trademark filings that use the word “innovation.” One would think that there is plenty of “innovation” to go around for everyone.
This custody battle over a word has taken on the David vs. Goliath metaphor since Bell's brews about 600 times the amount of beer that Innovation does with no-doubt, the legal resources to match. The classic excuse made by those yielding the legal sledgehammer is that they only want to protect the public by avoiding brand confusion. You know, the kind of brand confusion you have between Paris, France and Paris, Tennessee. One is home to the Eiffel Tower and the other the home of the World's Biggest Fish Fry. Which is which? So much confusion!