Urban Alley loses trademark appeal


Urban Alley’s appeal against a judge’s cancellation of its Urban Ale trademark has been dismissed.

At a hearing today, three judges of the Federal Court of Australia ordered that the appeal be dismissed with costs after a drawn-out legal battle.

Urban Alley instigated the legal battle in 2018, suing fellow Melbourne brewery La Sirène and alleging that the latter had infringed its Urban Ale trademark through its use of the Urban Pale branding on its farmhouse-style ale.

It resulted in a hearing last year and in February this year, the primary judge on the case rejected Urban Alley’s case.

At the time, the court determined that the trademark would be cancelled because it was not “inherently adapted” to distinguish Urban Alley’s beer brands from those of other breweries. The court also said that the word mark was deceptively similar to earlier registered marks of Urban Brewing Company, which is owned by an unrelated company.

La Sirene Brewing’s Urban Pale

However, in a surprise move, Melbourne brewery Urban Alley challenged the decision.

The notice of appeal it filed contended that the primary judge had made a mistake by cancelling the word mark, but the appeals court judges today said they were not persuaded that the primary judge had erred in his evaluation of the two marks.

Following the short hearing today, the court ruled that not only is the case to be dismissed, but Urban Alley will now have to pay for La Sirène’s legal costs.

Urban Alley (formerly Collins St Brewing Co.), founded by Ze’ev Meltzer, sought to register the trademark ‘Urban Ale’, along with ‘Once Bitter’ in early 2017 after filing to register the trademark in mid-2016.

In 2015 Eva and Costa Nikias, founders of the Alphington-based brewery La Sirène, began referring to the brewery as an ‘Urban Farmhouse’, relating to the types of farmhouse ales that La Sirène produce and its location.

It was not until more than two years later that the brewer instigated legal proceedings against the Alphington brewery.

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