Suit: Bell’s infringed trademark with ‘Deer Camp’ beer

Michigan
A courtesy image of Upper Hand Brewery's beer that's at center of a trademark infringement lawsuit.

A courtesy image of Upper Hand Brewery’s beer that’s at center of a trademark infringement lawsuit.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A division of Bell’s Brewery in the Upper Peninsula is being sued over allegations of trademark infringement.

In the federal lawsuit, a company called Buck Baits LLC and Anthony M.T. Majewski of Sterling Heights accuse the Upper Hand Brewery of using the “Deer Camp” trademark for an American Lager beer.

Buck Baits says it has been using its “Deer Camp” brand on a variety of products since 2015, which include coffee.

The lawsuit says the company applied for its trademark to be used for beer on Dec. 2, 2019. That modification is awaiting review by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

According to the lawsuit, Bell’s applied for the “Deer Camp” trademark for the purposes of producing beer and was denied on Jan. 16, 2018 “due to the likelihood of confusion with the Plaintiffs’ existing DEER CAMP mark.”

Buck Bait’s “Deer Camp” beer is a coffee-infused brew, which the company says fits with its entire line of “Deer Camp” products.

Majewski says he learned of Upper Hand Brewery’s “Deer Camp” beer on opening day of firearm deer season in 2019 when he visited a bar in the Upper Peninsula.

The lawsuit is seeking financial compensation and wants Bells to stop using the “Deer Camp” name.  

Buck Baits LLC gave this statement to News 8:

“Buck Baits, LLC is a Michigan based women owned company serving the archery, hunting and outdoors community. As we celebrate our fifth year in business,  we are working extra hard to establish Buck Baits as a leader in a male dominated industry offering our customers best in class and quality products. We have always taken great pride in acting ethically in our business endeavors and have been successful in establishing Buck Baits products as well as the Deer Camp product line, including our Michigan roasted brand Deer Camp® coffee, a licensed REALTREE® product, not only in Michigan, both nationally and internationally. Our Deer Camp® trademark was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark office in 2016. In 2017, Bell’s applied to register the trademark for their upcoming Deer Camp beer to be sold under their Upper Hand division but their application was rejected by the USPTO because it conflicted with our registered trademark.  However, despite being notified of this conflict, Bell’s moved forward and released their Deer Camp beer in the fall of 2018. We have made several efforts to find a friendly resolution to this matter, but Bell’s has shown no interest in working together to resolve this matter. Thus, as a small business, we were left with no choice but to engage legal counsel and file this lawsuit to protect our business, brand, and trademark rights. As for specifics facts and legal arguments, please see the complaint that was filed with the court.”

Larry Bell, founder and president of Bell’s Brewery, says the company has not been served this lawsuit and cannot comment on the allegations until that process occurs.  

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