ST. LOUIS — To many older Americans, the Schlafly name is most closely associated with Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative commentator known for her campaign to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s.
A younger generation knows Schlafly as the brand of an up-and-coming St. Louis brewery co-founded by Schlafly's nephew.
Now the federal agency that oversees trademarks is being asked to wade into a dispute within the prominent family and decide whether Schlafly is primarily a last name or a commercial brand that deserves legal protection.
With a growing national profile and new owners who might want to expand, the brewery started by Tom Schlafly more than two decades ago is seeking a trademark that would give it the exclusive right to use the Schlafly name to sell craft beer. But Phyllis Schlafly has asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to deny the request, lest any implied association with beer sully her 60-year political career.
Phyllis Schlafly, now 89, lives in a St. Louis suburb and continues to lead the Eagle Forum, the group she created to prevent ratification of the proposed constitutional amendment on women's rights. These days, the forum fights issues such as same-sex marriage and federal education standards.
Nearly 18 months after she filed her complaint, settlement talks continue.
The brewery filed its application in 2011, not long before Schlafly and his partner, Dan Kopman, sold a majority of the brewery to Sage Capital LLC, a local private equity firm.
"I would like to get this settled and move on with selling beer," said Tom Schlafly, who remains the company's largest shareholder and board chairman.