Trademarking Yellowstone?

Litigation is in the air! As detailed here, some Missouri-based company has demanded two separate Montana brewers cease and desist usage of the name "Yellowstone"—apparently this Missouri company, which makes alcoholic products, trademarked the name "Yellowstone Bourbon" and is now trying to go after Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company and Yellowstone Beer Company. Sounds incredibly shady:

Last year, David Sherman Corp. of St. Louis threatened Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. of Billings, asking it to stop using its name and turn over all its products.

In a May 20 letter this spring, the Missouri distiller issued a similar threat to Yellowstone Beer Co. of West Yellowstone.

Owners Victor and Mary Cavalier said the certified letter ordered them to stop using their corporate name and to ship all their labels and beer to St. Louis.

However, the letter was sent to the wrong person and address, to a former employee of Lewis & Clark Brewery in Helena.

"I think they are fishing," Victor Cavalier said. "They came up with the name of a guy who hadn’t even worked with Lewis & Clark for five years."

The article also points out that under U.S. law, geographical names cannot be trademarked.

See also Star Bock.