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Eddie Holley sent in the following story to share.
I wanted to inform you of an impending lawsuit that concerns a business in Wake Forest. My name is Eddie Holley. I own Ale Yeah! Craft Beer Market (www.aleyeahbeer.com), a craft-beer-only bottle shop in the greater Atlanta, GA area. We currently have 3 locations in Decatur, Roswell and Kennessaw GA.
In 2012 we filed an application to trademark “Ale Yeah!” in the retail services category with the USPTO. We were opposed by a restaurant group known as LM Restaurants (www.lmrest.com), parent company of the chain of restaurants known as the Carolina Ale House (CAH, www.carolinaalehouse.com).
CAH has used the phrase on some of their menus and in a few advertising pieces over the years. In addition to Wake Forest there are CAH locations in 26 other southern markets. To confirm, CAH runs a series of restaurants but opposed our application in the retail services category, citing first use of the mark in 2007.
We began using the mark in 2010 but there are numerous examples of companies utilizing and owning their respective marks in different business industries (Apple Music, Apple Computing, Beretta the car, Beretta the gun). LM Restaurants filed their own application for the phrase “Ale Yeah!” in 2013 in the restaurant services category, which we did not oppose, and we have been in a trademark battle with them ever since.
LM Restaurants was awarded the use of the “Ale Yeah! mark in restaurant services category in 2014. Both parties have acknowledged, albeit behind closed doors, that there exists no confusion between our businesses and that the general consensus was once a resolution of this matter was reached that both parties would be awarded their respective marks. Why continue with the trademark battle you ask? We’re not entirely sure but we were willing to see this through to the end.
Last week LM restaurants decided to take a different tact and file a trademark infringement lawsuit against us claiming that we have knowingly violated the use of the Ale Yeah! mark held by the LM Restaurants group.
You can read the lawsuit if you click here.
Our lawyers believe this is a tactic in hopes of outspending us as another legal battle constitutes more lawyer fees and hopefully that pressure would force us to fold.
Essentially their claims are baseless and frivolous as the lawsuit completely ignores the trademark battle that we have been engaged in for nearly 3 years. We didn’t oppose their registration of the mark in the restaurant services category and why would we, we are not a restaurant. We are a small, locally owned beer only package store.
Our companies operate in completely different industries, and markets, for that matter as we do not operate a store within 150 miles of the closest CAH location. This lawsuit, and the trademark battle, are simply examples of a bigger company trying to take advantage of a smaller one. A google search of “Ale Yeah!” produces our store alone, not a mention of a CAH location.