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Trademark for new gin distillery?

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I'm based in Asia, looking to primarily sell regionally - however of course would be interested in internet fulfillment to US and EU and eventual distribution. Would suck to get a brand going here - and find someone in Connecticut or Germany has started using the same brand.

I did a search on TESS and COLA and don't see my brand name, lets call it: 'Hot Rod Distillery'  - it's actually pretty damn to difficult to believe that my name isn't already in use... So I'm a bit nervous.

It IS however already taken for tea, and a cooperative (medical).

Meaning 'Hot Rod' (tea manufacturer) is TM

and 'Hot Rod' (a cooperative) is TM and in legal battle with tea guys.

a problem?

I'm incorporated here, in my country. Do I need to seek trademark for my brand in US, EU and every country I wish to sell? Or, maybe just the few largest ones? Or is just the US enough?

I'm only producing gin - should I seek 'Hot Rod Gin' or go with 'Hot Rod Distillery'

I believe they say you have to be conducting commerce prior to issuing the Trademark. Is setting up a website and selling collateral enough to start?

I don't have artwork / brand to go with the name yet. I wanted to secure the TM before sharing my business idea with several design firms because I have a fairly unique bottle / brand concept. Wouldn't want it to show up on their next client gig.

I'm going to try to submit the TM myself and see how it goes. Any help appreciated.

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> Meaning 'Hot Rod' (tea manufacturer) is TM

Check with a lawyer. Based on that company I would say you're going to have to modify it somehow. Most trademarks are given within an industry. Given that someone is already in the beverage industry, even though it's only tea, means you will probably not be able to get it. You might be able to modify it lightly that might be good enough. You might be able to do something like "Donkey's Hot Rod Gin" and get away with it. 

I wouldn't mess with this one on your own. A quick consult with a lawyer could save you $$$ and trouble down the road.

>I did a search on TESS and COLA and don't see my brand name

That doesn't mean that it's not taken by someone.

>Do I need to seek trademark for my brand in US, EU and every country I wish to sell?

A lawyer that is versed in IP law probably will be able to get you a trademark in most of the world. It's a common thing. Most big countries are simple, prices vary. I've never dealt with smaller countries. I don't think worldwide IP for a you is a huge deal at the moment but the lawyer will be able to give you a good idea of how much and when you might want to do it.

> I'm only producing gin - should I seek 'Hot Rod Gin' or go with 'Hot Rod Distillery'

Don't limit yourself. And if you ever plan on selling your company it would be good to be slightly less specific to give them the option. Hot Rod Distillery would be fine if you can get something like that.

> I'm going to try to submit the TM myself and see how it goes

Yeah I wouldn't do that without talking to a lawyer. You might be able to get a TM but it might not stop you from being sued. IP law is very fluid, it's not black and white. With IP law you're never truly safe from being sued. You may win, but it will cost you.

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I think I asked too many questions.

Let's dial it back, and just look at TM..

There are currently 4 TM given for:

'Hot Rod'

1. protein-based or granola-based meal replacement bars for medical purposes
2. Australian red table wine excluding tea or herbal tea flavored wine
3. dietary and nutritional supplements in the nature of [ heral ] * herbal * teas
4. Herb Tea

So, I'm afraid if I go after:

'Hot Rod' TM

5. distillery of spirits (gin, vodka, whiskey) excluding wine, tea, dietary supplements and meal replacement bars

I might still get pushback.

If instead I go for a different Trademark:

Hot Rod Distillery
or
Hot Rod Spirits

Will that give me more protection?

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I've been refused trademarks for sillier reasons.

Latest one, a bottled water has a (not even remotely) similar trademark.  Really, it shares one word out of three, and it's not even the most distinctive word.

Hot Rod?  Don't even bother unless you have a good lawyer.

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I have been in marketing / advertising for 26 years. If you hire a lawyer to do a preliminary search they can tell you if the TM is worth pursuing. However, based on what you have said I would consider another name. As well, beyond the TM itself you need to take into consideration the marketing end like the .com etc. If you can not secure a URL it is pretty hard for someone to find you. Just a thought.

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Everyone who says pay a trademark attorney is correct.  Period.  And, if the attorney says it is okay, make sure that the attorney files the paperwork to obtain the name for you ASAP.  Here today, gone tomorrow rules.  Then don't ignore first use issues.  Then ... no, no more "thens" allowed -  loop this back to my first comment.  Get a trademark attorney.  

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