Geoff at Seattle Beer News broke the new first about Black Raven Brewery losing their trademark case on 6/21/10. Black Raven Brewing has been trying for two years to trademark their brewery name but their attempts to do so have been blocked by Ravenwood winery which currently holds the trademark for Ravenwood, Raging Raven and Ravens. OK I get the first two, the name of their winery and I presume the name of one of their wines BUT the word Ravens has me befuddled. It is not to say that our legal system doesn’t often perplex me it because it does, but this seems especially confusing as the word raven seems too iconic and too interwoven into legend and lore to be trademarked.

Black Banned

Nigel and "Shiny" sporting their Banned signs

Last night at the Naked City Tap House brewers’ night, the Black Raven Brewers were in high spirits and cheerfully wearing banned labels across their shirt logos.  Don’t get too alarmed, Beaux Bowman reassures us Black Raven isn’t giving up their logo or name yet, they are too much like ravens themselves to give up without a fight. When I interviewed Beaux as our featured brewery last winter he described:

The staff at Black Raven Brewery are smart people with a wicked sense of humor, keen business savvy, creative and inquistive minds, and an appreciation for beer history and culture.

rolling stones cover art

Reworked Rolling Stones cover

They showed no less when they sported their BANNED labels last night.  When they were raffling away T-shirts for Brewers Night, they cheerfully offered to have Nigel, in charge of sales, provide the winners with BANNED badges of their own. Ravens are known as much for their humor as their cunning. Although Black Raven Brewery has been refused trademark for their own name, they have not been issued a cease and desist prohibiting them from using it. Nigel is already plotting in case. He has already envisioned a scenario like the Rolling Stones 1978 album cover for Some Girls which portrayed a variety of celebrity female faces. Once the celebrities complained, the Rolling Stones simply blocked out those faces and reissued the album. The original covers are collector items and the new cover and its controversy, helped revive the Rolling Stones.

Read enough raven legends and you know it is rare that the raven doesn’t have the last laugh.

UPDATE: Read Black Raven Brewery’s official statement about the trademark ruling.