Bellevue Brewing Company
Bellevue Brewing Company Exemplifies Innovative Beer
Bellevue Brewing Company was recently featured in the Bellevue Club’s Reflections Magazine. In the article, Allyson Marrs tells the story of how John Robertson founded the Bellevue Brewing Company. Ms. Marr’s story in Reflections about Mr. Robertson jumped out at us because we recently wrote several articles about patenting beer. Against that backdrop, the story of Mr. Robertson illustrates a journey of true innovation. He works within a complex art, where he must select multiple ingredients from a virtually limitless array of possibilities. Amidst the infinite number of choices, he develops unique beers intended to “come out and punch everybody in the face.”
Bellevue Brewing Company Selects Innovative Ingredients
One critical part of evaluating whether or not a composition is patentable involves understanding how the inventor selected the composition’s ingredients. Was the inventor making routine variations to an existing recipe? Or was the inventor departing from the teachings of the existing art? Mr. Robertson’s appears to embody the second case—he is not pursuing obvious variations on existing beer recipes. By contrast, he is constantly pursuing the “next step in beer evolution,” aiming to surprise the community, punching them in the face.
Bellevue Brewing Company Selects Ingredients from Many Possibilities
For a new composition having multiple ingredients (like beer), patentability depends on how many choices for potential ingredients were available to the inventor. Was the inventor working with a finite number of possibilities? Or did the inventor make selections from a virtually limitless number of possibilities? Having more possibilities and more complex combinations of ingredients usually supports an inventor’s case for patentability. Here, Mr. Robertson’s case illustrates the later option—he selects different ingredients in different proportions than other beer makers. These deliberate departures from the existing recipes create a strong case for patentability.
Although we have not identified any patent applications from the Bellevue Brewing Company at this time, the company is rather new. According to Ms. Marr’s article, their first draft was poured less than one year ago— in December of 2012. If that instance was the first disclosure, the inventors would still have about 2-3 months to pursue patent protection on recipes first disclosed in December of 2012. In any event, this company will certainly continue to push the brewing arts forward, making better, more innovative creations that aim to punch us in the face. We look forward to seeing what’s next.