BYOB & water a blustery mix

Dear Editor:

Your Dealer Profile article of August 2001 used our trademark in a wrongful manor for the common use of BYOB is in reference to the use of alcoholic beverages. Our trademark is in using the mark in reference with as tea-totaling a manor as possible and that is why it is such an effective trademark. Someone using our trademark wrongfully steals a good deal of our highly valued property and good will. Following is a description of our trademark to help you understand our trademark so you can correct the problem.

The BYOB Water Store trademark and design was first registered in Texas under registration #45786 in 1985. Nationally, the all capital letters B.Y.O.B. WATER STORE was registered so as to register claim to any use of BYOB in our field of operation and not just with the use of a specific design. The national registration gives a very broad claim. The national registration is #1,485,777, filed in 1988. Our newest registered trade mark (sic) is much like the national trademark in that it is BYOB Water Store—words only, no design, in the State of Texas #55832.

Although the BYOB Water Store trademark consists of the name and the design, including coloration, the BYOB in BYOB Water Store is the largest value of our trademark. As evidenced by Gail Research Inc.’s book Acronyms, Initialisms and Abbreviations Dictionary, the use of BYOB in connection with the sale of water to the consumer in his own container was an innovation. The definition given for BYOB was: 1. Bring Your Own Beef, 2. Bring Your Own Boat, 3. Bring Your Own Booze or Bottle. Note: The third definition means that the “Bottle” was a bottle of liquor, not anything else.

To use an initialism which suggests to most people the use of alcoholic beverages in connection with the sale of a product which is about as tea-totaling as you can get is indeed an ingenious innovation. Once people understand that BYOB stands for Bring Your Own Bottle and that this use is so opposite the usual connotation, they quite often laugh, and they rarely forge the store’s name.

In checking the Dun & Bradstreet listings of 800,000 names for any use of BYOB in the name of a business, there was only one business besides the BYOB Water Stores listed which used BYOB in their name. That business used BYOB for Build Your Own Burger and sells hamburgers. The point being that there is no possibility of confusing the public between a BYOB Water Store which sells water and related products and a BYOB Build Your Own Burger which sells hamburgers because the two businesses deal in different trades. But when a business in the retail business of selling water uses BYOB designating to the public (our concept of doing business), they have at that point tied the name BYOB to our stores and there is no escaping the fact that the public will be confused and liability will result.

The use of the proprietary name doesn’t have to be used in a name to be in violation of a trademark. If BYOB is used in advertising in such a manner as to stand out and catch the public’s eye, then the consumer is likely to assume that BYOB is being used to designate a business name. Abbreviations stand out like sore thumbs and are therefore set apart and brought to the public’s attention making it next to impossible to use BYOB in connection with a retail operation selling water to the consumer in his own container, without confusing the consumer as to with whom he is doing business.

Our concern is that your using the mark in one of your articles may cause others to misuse the mark. Our interest is for you and your readers to understand that the use of BYOB in connection with alcoholic beverages is in the public domain, but that use of the mark connection with water is a violation of our trademark.

Richard Cure, President
BYOB Water Stores Inc.
Lewisville, Texas

Editor’s note: OK. We were not aware of that. By the way, the reference was made in “Dealer Profile: All About Water Treatment of Gilbert, Ariz.—Adjusting to Times in the Grand Canyon State,” p. 48. Our apologies for any confusion.

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