28 March 2018Trademarks

Cleveland sports site tackles beer festival over TM

A website dedicated to the Cleveland sport scene has taken on a US beer festival over the identical use of its name.

Believeland filed its complaint against Believeland Beer Fest at the US District Court of the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, yesterday, March 27.

Believeland has been selling sport-related merchandise—predominantly apparel—and offering Cleveland sporting news since 2008.

Believeland is a campaign from the Cleveland Browns, a National Football League team.

The website owns three trademark registrations for ‘Believeland’ (US registration numbers 3,450,139; 3,785,528; and 3,785,529), covering clothing, entertainment services, drinking vessels and plastic signboards.

It is believed that the defendants recently began selling tickets for the Believeland Beer Fest, scheduled for April 28, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Tickets for the event are being bundled with merchandise including t-shirts, beer glasses and foam fingers marked with ‘Believeland Beer Fest’.

In its claim, the plaintiff argues that the word “Believeland” has gained recognition in the marketplace, especially in Cleveland.

Believeland alleged that Nathan Barnhart—who is also named as a defendant—filed three trademark applications in relation to the beer festival.

The applied-for trademarks were for ‘Believeland Beer’, ‘Believeland Beer Festival’ and ‘Believeland Music Festival’.

According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the ‘Believeland Beer’ application is still alive, although the other two trademarks are dead.

Believeland claimed that it sent a letter to Barnhart in June 2016, informing him that the applied-for trademarks would constitute trademark infringement.

After Believeland demanded the defendant stop its infringing conduct, Barnhart reportedly responded with a counter-demand letter.

Believeland is requesting that the festival be enjoined from using the ‘Believeland’ mark. The website is also seeking damages.

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