Phyllis Schlafly loses trademark dispute with nephew’s craft brewery

Photo courtesy of Schlafly
Photo courtesy of Schlafly

Longtime conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly has lost her fight to block the maker of Schlafly beer from trademarking the brand’s name.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in a decision last week, sided with the St. Louis Brewery, which applied for the Schlafly trademark in 2012 as its sales began to take off outside of Missouri.

In her opposition to the trademark application, filed four years ago, Phyllis Schlafly argued that the brewery — which was co-founded in 1991 by Tom Schlafly — shouldn’t be able to trademark a name that she made famous after decades in the public eye. Phyllis Schlafly is known for founding the conservative Eagle Forum and helping lead the successful opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s.

In addition to Phyllis Schlafly’s opposition, her son Dr. Bruce Schlafly also filed an opposition to the brewery’s trademark registration, alleging that trademarking the Schlafly name could negatively impact the orthopedic surgeon’s reputation by associating his name with alcohol.

But in its decision, dated Aug. 2, a trademark office board dismissed Phyllis Schlafly’s and Dr. Bruce Schlafly’s opposition filings, noting that the law allows a trademark to be registered if it has acquired distinctiveness, rejected the argument that a trademark shouldn’t be allowed because it’s primarily a surname.

In its decision, the board said it considered testimony by the brewery’s co-founders Tom Schlafly and Dan Kopman that numerous national publications have referred to the business as Schlafly beer and its beers have won competitions across the country. Schlafly beer is sold at more than 10,000 retail locations in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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