To all, regardless of how hard you search and what advice you get from attorneys, there is no way to prevent trademark bullying from a marginally close big name company. We searched our name Grant View Distillery and were advised by attorneys that there would be no issue in registering. The trademark office reviewed the filing and allowed us to continue the registration as I they did not see a conflict. The name had quite a significance to us and the community as we live work and distill on a hill named “Grant View Heights” as it overlooked the former Camp Grant military base.
On the last day of publication, Grant’s distillery from Scotland owners of , Grant's, The Balvenie, Kininvie, Monkey Shoulder, Aerstone, Clan MacGregor, House of Hazelwood, The Gordon Highlanders, Tullamore Dew, Hendrick's, Reyka, Sailor Jerry, Old Vatted Demerara, Woods Old Navy, Vat 19, Gibson’s Finest, Taboo, Montelobos, Milagro, Drambuie, Solerno, Ancho Reyes, Ancho Verde, Three Barrels, The Raynal, and Art In the Age Craft Spirits, asked for an extension and eventually filed an opposition based on their “Grant’s Elementary” trademarked Scotch.
As discussions progressed our attorneys all said they had a weak case as there was already a Glen Grant trademark and an unregistered Samuel Grant Bourbon (bottom shelf Safeway brand made by Barton 1792). The consensus was that we would be almost guaranteed to win but expect to spend $50,000+ in the fight as they were just trying to strengthen their mark and as a startup, we were an easy target.
As a startup, I have other things I would rather spend money on (like some SS fermenters & a chiller)
We proposed to change our name to GrantView (one word). They initially agreed as long as we did not register the mark and limit our capacity to 100,000 gallons (definition of Craft in Illinois). We drug or feet for a bit and now they want us to change our name to GrandView (one word) Limit our production, and submit every future label for their review. Along the way we also had a graphic artist design a tree logo based on a huge Walnut tree on our property. They also threw in that they now wanted us to loose the logo no matter what our future name is as the boxes they ship their product in have an unregistered “Grant’s family tree” logo on them (totally different from our tree”
Bottom line, as they have a virtually unlimited budget, I am being forced to change our name and loose a significant historical connection that is of great value to our community.
I guess that because they have an unlimited budget, my only real recourse in this all is to ask all of you as Craft Distillers to join me in Boycotting all their Products because of their bulling tactics.