What’s the difference between good parody and bad? – A defensible legal position.

The recent kerfuffle between Knee Deep Brewing Co., and Sony Pictures Television over Knee Deep’s use of Breaking Bad (trademarked by Sony) iconography and imagery for their Breaking Bud IPA provides an opportunity for a good reminder about the defense of parody to trademark infringement. When done right, this time-honored, and statutorily codified defense to […]

Will Lee v. Tam End The TTB’s Censorship of Beer Wine and Spirits Labels Found Obscene or Indecent?

As the US awaits a verdict in Lee v. Tam – a trademark dispute challenging a section of the trademark act (15 U.S.C. 1052(a)) refusing trademark registration for marks that are deemed immoral or scandalous, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s implementation and application of those restrictions – it would benefit us to be […]

This Spuds Not For You – Anheuser Gets Sued By Putative Owner of Spuds MacKenzie Claiming Anheuser Abandoned Spuds MacKenzie

You read that right.  They created him, they used him, and now, they may have waited too long in between uses to be able to claim they have the rights to him.  This lawsuit (link to complaint), filed yesterday in the Southern District of New York by Spuds Ventures. The lawsuit alleges that the recent […]

Example Agreements: Licensing Your Brand To Create Chackies For Your Distributors and Customers

People love to wear branded stuff.  I accept this as a general truth.  The sooner you accept is as well and offer them the chance to promote your brand for you, the sooner you’ll be getting some free advertising.  They particularly like beer, spirits, and food brands (my awesome Chateauneuf Du Pape shirt notwithstanding).  That […]

Sapporo Wins “Not Made In Japan” Lawsuit – Havana Club and Red Stripe Opinions Are Gaining Steam as Precedent for Beer False Origin Lawsuits

“If I wanted American beer, I would have bought Budweiser” – that’s what the plaintiff in the recently dismissed class action against Sapporo told the New York Post back when they reported on her filing the lawsuit. The plaintiff in this suit went after Sapporo claiming that the packaging mislead consumers into believing the beer […]

Frivolous Lawsuit Against Walmart Alleges Private Label / Contract Beer Made at Larger Facility Can’t Be Craft

In what’s certain to raise the ire of many private labelers and contract brewers around the country who benefit from the expertise, skill, and equipment available at commercial breweries Walmart has been tagged with a private labeling “crafty” suit in Ohio.  The complaint (you can read it here) alleges that Walmart has a hand in […]

Use Tequila in Your Drink Name? You May Need to Use Another Name. U.S. Trademark Office Makes Tequila the Champagne of Agaves

Marie Gaytán’s “¡Tequila!: Distilling the Spirit of Mexico” is a grand exercise in contextualizing tequila historically, economically, and politically.  If you don’t start the book with an appreciation (and hankering) for tequila or mezcal as something that isn’t served with salt and lime, you will by the time you finish it.  The treatise renewed my […]