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(Some Brewmeister)   Lawsuit trolls aren't just for technology apparently. Some poor little brewery in Kentucky is being attacked... help 'em out   (westsixth.com) divider line 220
    More: Sad, Magic Hat, irreparable injury  
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11757 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 May 2013 at 1:47 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-22 02:16:47 PM

TNel: I wouldn't think it was the same outlet I would assume it was an affiliate or another brew that is indorsed by the other since the logos are very similar.


And *THAT* is exactly the type of confusion people with well developed brand images sue over.
 
2013-05-22 02:17:21 PM
They could just change the font.  Probably just a coincidence that they chose the same font, though.
 
2013-05-22 02:18:16 PM
Of course, screw all this, because in a couple months I'll be drinking:
i42.tinypic.com
brewed by the guy next door to me
 
2013-05-22 02:18:38 PM
Sounds like they should just change the damned logo and be done with it.
 
2013-05-22 02:19:08 PM
Seriously, Dorothy, STFU and give it up.
Hire another design team, preferably one who actually goes into beer stores and maybe surfs the internet to see what kinds of logos are taken.
They gonna get raped in court.
 
2013-05-22 02:19:32 PM
Wahhh you are using a similar font and you also have a number on your logo (that, when inverted, happens to look like our number on our logo!!)

Since when can you trademark a number?  I call dibs on 7...
 
2013-05-22 02:20:03 PM

nekom: factoryconnection: I just saw this on Magic Hat's facebook feed today: http://new.pitchengine.com/pitches/0ab90552-225c-4a77-bf2e-79ecdcd09c 1 5

Worth a read, what with two sides to every story.  Maybe Magic Hat is being the bad guy, but one must defend trademarks or risk losing their legal standing.

Definitely worth a read, but I think there was no need to blow it out of proportion in the first place.  Can you really trademark the concept of a number enclosed in a circle?


Yes and no: any word, mark, symbol, design, logo, or other feature that is distinctive and recognizable as being associated with a manufacturer can be a trademark, like a 9 in a circle for Magic Hat. Can you trademark a  concept? No. But really, I think you're only asking that because you're confusing trademarks with patents.

And furthermore the question of intent comes up.  Was it the brewery's intention to confuse buyers into buying their beer by making them think it's another brand?  I SERIOUSLY doubt that.

The question of intent doesn't come up at all. The question is merely whether there's a likelihood of confusion between the two.

Was Magic Hat actually harmed by this in any way?  I rather doubt that as well.

They had distributors reporting confusion.
 
2013-05-22 02:21:18 PM

HunterGTS: The scuttlebutt around Lexington is that another local brewery is ultimately behind all of this.


That would be a dick move to pull but I wouldn't be surprised...
 
2013-05-22 02:22:21 PM
Looking at the cans and the logos, I'm convinced that the problem lies neither with Magic Hat nor with West Sixth... it clearly lies with uneducated consumers.  I can't blame either Magic Hat or West Sixth if people can't read and don't know the difference between basic colors and numbers.
 
2013-05-22 02:22:34 PM

mjones73: HunterGTS: The scuttlebutt around Lexington is that another local brewery is ultimately behind all of this.

That would be a dick move to pull but I wouldn't be surprised...


Is it Kentucky Ale?
 
2013-05-22 02:22:45 PM
They look a lot more similar to me than the Fark headline led me to believe.  Damn you, Fark headlines!

There's a lot of beer cans in the world though, some of them are bound to look pretty similar.
 
2013-05-22 02:24:13 PM

TNel: I wouldn't think it was the same outlet I would assume it was an affiliate or another brew that is indorsed by the other since the logos are very similar.


Really? Are you blind?

fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net
 
2013-05-22 02:24:15 PM

ha-ha-guy: Assuming Magic Hat is correct, the West Sixth was lying in their little sob story about "no one ever talked to us" since Magic Hat claims they've been working with them.


The letters back and forth are here.
 
2013-05-22 02:24:48 PM
How much  money can it take to lay out these defenses?
 
2013-05-22 02:26:10 PM

kobrakai: mjones73: HunterGTS: The scuttlebutt around Lexington is that another local brewery is ultimately behind all of this.

That would be a dick move to pull but I wouldn't be surprised...

Is it Kentucky Ale?


Their parent company. Which, interestingly enough, just released their own IPA. Who also use the same distribution companies.
 
2013-05-22 02:26:21 PM
How does one generate millions of dollars of publicity for your start up, for $10,000 or less in legal fees?

You make a tactical decision to be sued, claim you are the little man being picked on by a bully.  Even if the court rules against you the only fall out is you have to change your logo and possibly give the other party all the profits you generated while using the same.  Of course the article noted that as a start up their brand hasn't generated any profit yet. FTA: (little do they know that well, as a startup company, there wasn't any [profits], oops!).

So do you....

1. Agree to change your logo

OR

2. Spend less than $10,00 in legal fees and benefit from the nation-wide publicity surrounding the suit.  Knowing all the while that you haven't made any profits so the most the court can do is order you to change your logo, and if you are allowed to keep it than you generate more publicity as the small start-up that stood up to a big corporate owned brewery.

/Who the fark every heard of West Six Brewing outside of Kentucky before this?
//There is no such thing as bad publicity
///Abercrombie and Fitch stock is up 30%
 
2013-05-22 02:26:29 PM

kobrakai: I wonder what PepsiCo thinks about Magic Hat's logo for their cucumber hibiscus ale?

[www.mustlovebeer.com image 528x529]


DO THE DEW!

Hibiscus Cucumber? Oh cool, girls are coming over.


Magic Hat sucks IMO. All too sweet.
 
2013-05-22 02:27:11 PM
Identical!

i436.photobucket.com
 
2013-05-22 02:27:23 PM

impaler: TNel: I wouldn't think it was the same outlet I would assume it was an affiliate or another brew that is indorsed by the other since the logos are very similar.

Really? Are you blind?

[fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net image 626x834]


Look at the boobies in this thread.  I can't see how you can't tell that the logos are similar.
 
2013-05-22 02:29:09 PM
The 6th SBC looks alot like the tap handle for number 9.

/number 9 is good stuff.
 
2013-05-22 02:29:21 PM

oruacat2: It's not an actual "star", either - it's a very commonly-utilized symbol used by cartographers for centuries to indicate compass directions - as in "the 6 is to the west".   I am, or was, a big fan of Magic Hat, and if their trademark were being infringed-upon, I'd agree with their complaint.  But it's not.

The silver lining is that I had no idea Magic Hat was owned by a foreign corportation, and I usually try to keep up with facts like that one.  Thanks to this frivolous lawsuit, they've blown up their own carefully-constructed "Vermont craft-brewery" mythology.   Way to go, guys.



Magic Hat says they've been in contact with them trying to propose an amicable solution in order to avoid a law suit.  West Sixth argues that they tried to reach out to Magic Hat and received no response.  I'm inclined to support the one that's telling the truth and in my experience anyone who says "fancy legal counsel out of New York" is usually a dirtbag.
 
2013-05-22 02:29:28 PM
With this numbers on beer lawsuit, I guess Oskar Blues may be dropping... wait for it...

3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-05-22 02:30:24 PM

CrazyCracka420: Wahhh you are using a similar font and you also have a number on your logo (that, when inverted, happens to look like our number on our logo!!)

Since when can you trademark a number?  I call dibs on 7...


i.pgcdn.com
 
2013-05-22 02:30:30 PM

BarkingUnicorn: How much  money can it take to lay out these defenses?


Depends on what lawyer or law firm you retain and how hard-fought the litigation is.  mid five figures to low seven figures is the range.
 
2013-05-22 02:33:31 PM

factoryconnection: Worth a read, what with two sides to every story.


Seems as if W 6th Street offered to get rid of the compass dingbat and then may have either reneged or shuffled their feet about it.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/142860493/Magic-Hat-Brewing-and-West-Sixth -B rewing
 
2013-05-22 02:33:42 PM

nekom: Definitely worth a read, but I think there was no need to blow it out of proportion in the first place.  Can you really trademark the concept of a number enclosed in a circle?


Doesn't matter.  If you can show that someone, somewhere, was legitimately confused, you have standing.
 
2013-05-22 02:34:59 PM

nekom: factoryconnection: I just saw this on Magic Hat's facebook feed today: http://new.pitchengine.com/pitches/0ab90552-225c-4a77-bf2e-79ecdcd09c 1 5

Worth a read, what with two sides to every story.  Maybe Magic Hat is being the bad guy, but one must defend trademarks or risk losing their legal standing.

Definitely worth a read, but I think there was no need to blow it out of proportion in the first place.  Can you really trademark the concept of a number enclosed in a circle?  And furthermore the question of intent comes up.  Was it the brewery's intention to confuse buyers into buying their beer by making them think it's another brand?  I SERIOUSLY doubt that.  Was Magic Hat actually harmed by this in any way?  I rather doubt that as well.


You can trademark just a color, or a shape, so I'd guess a number in a circle might pass the test

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-conventional_trademark

Not sure how relevant intent is in trademark cases, though...either you're infringing or not, maybe?
 
2013-05-22 02:35:01 PM
The correspondence between lawyers suggests that West Sixth can go fark itself.
 
2013-05-22 02:35:25 PM

zobear: factoryconnection: Worth a read, what with two sides to every story.

Seems as if W 6th Street offered to get rid of the compass dingbat and then may have either reneged or shuffled their feet about it.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/142860493/Magic-Hat-Brewing-and-West-Sixth -B rewing


They claim it's too expensive to change the compass. Which is a little tough to believe.
 
2013-05-22 02:35:34 PM
Old Milwaukee is a Pabst product; Milwaukee's Best is from Miller. Both beers have the world "Milwaukee" in them. Let the lawsuits begin!!
 
2013-05-22 02:35:57 PM

CapeFearCadaver: Meh. Create another logo and move on.

Gene Simmons sued some friends of mine out of Sweden who's name was Crown of Thorns. They were signed, had records, doing international (through Europe) tours, etc. But since Gene Simmons decided years later to produce a small band in the States with the same name he sued them.

Rather than go through the hoopla over it, considering the cost of it which they didn't have, they just changed their name to The Crown.

Guess which band is worldwide popular?


Makes you wonder how Gene Simmons was able to play a shyster lawyer to a T in Mike Judge's Extract.

I like Magic Hat, been to the brewery even, but they lost their way after being sold a few years ago. They've been skating on by playing the "Vermont hippie" card, not unlike another formerly independent in-state ice cream vendor.
 
2013-05-22 02:36:12 PM
I always liked this bit of laziness. Apparently, this "G" got treated like clip-art.

i.chzbgr.com
 
2013-05-22 02:36:58 PM

ko_kyi: nekom: Definitely worth a read, but I think there was no need to blow it out of proportion in the first place.  Can you really trademark the concept of a number enclosed in a circle?

Doesn't matter.  If you can show that someone, somewhere, was legitimately confused, you have standing.


Even if that someone is a total idiot?  I enjoy a good Dogfish head 60 minute IPA, but if I saw a green case in the store with a catfish logo and it read "Catfish head 60 IPA" I would notice the damned difference.  You have to be pretty simple to think that a green 6 is the same as an orange 9.
 
2013-05-22 02:39:30 PM
And then there are these...
machoarts.com
 
2013-05-22 02:39:32 PM
I used to think Magic Hat was reasonably tasty, but I won't buy it anymore based on this story.

Fark bully beers, drink local.

/Of course that's easy for me to say, living in Beer City USA.
 
2013-05-22 02:39:34 PM
A number alone is probably not trademarkable.

A combination of some number plus a specific typographical design plus a specific shape is probably trademarkable.

West Sixth should lose the starburst, change the font, and STFU.
 
2013-05-22 02:39:43 PM

nunyadang: I have had #9 and was not a fan. If i saw a similar looking 6* label on a shelf  I might get confused and think they were related and move on.

Magic Hat beer blows. If I were a craft brewer I would not want my label to be confused with a bottle of suck ass beer. Quit biatching and change your logo


We should settle this with a beer tasting. 10 craft beer drinkers in a blind taste test that have not drank either product before. Whoever has the worse beer has to change their logo.
 
2013-05-22 02:39:54 PM
I drink lots of mass market cheap swill so I am really getting a kick out of these replies...
 
2013-05-22 02:41:28 PM

CapeFearCadaver: Meh. Create another logo and move on.

Gene Simmons sued some friends of mine out of Sweden who's name was Crown of Thorns. They were signed, had records, doing international (through Europe) tours, etc. But since Gene Simmons decided years later to produce a small band in the States with the same name he sued them.

Rather than go through the hoopla over it, considering the cost of it which they didn't have, they just changed their name to The Crown.

Guess which band is worldwide popular?


There was a nice family owned restaurant in Paterson NJ named Ci Ci's for longer than most folks can remember. Guess what corporate Mexican Foods chain lawyer sued the pants off of them for infirngement? Scumbags galore, lawyers like this and those who pay them for bullshiat lawsuits. And Fark the Judges too when they rule in favor of Johnny Come Lately over a long established concern.
 
2013-05-22 02:42:15 PM

nekom: I enjoy a good Dogfish head 60 minute IPA, but if I saw a green case in the store with a catfish logo and it read "Catfish head 60 IPA" I would notice the damned difference.


Yeah, and you'd either think, "Oh, Dogfish Head has spun off a new brand," or "These f**ers are trying to cash in on Dogfish Head's popularity," and the trademark needs to be defended against both of those.
 
2013-05-22 02:43:30 PM

PunGent: Not sure how relevant intent is in trademark cases, though...either you're infringing or not, maybe?


Intent is in fact considered, but it is not at the heart of the matter.

The important thing in trademark is to remember that out of all IP it is the nice one (if we ignore rarer bullshiat like dillution and post-sale confusion).  It exists specifically to prevent consumers from being confused and taken advantage of, and that is basically the legal test.  Looking at two marks, would a consumer be confused as to the source of the goods.

Now, note, i said source of the goods, not confuse the goods themselves.  Thus if a consumer saw two logos side by side and was likely to think they were not the same product but made by the same guys, that can be actionable.

Additionally, as the system is built such that the "owner" of a mark is also the one who polices it, we make them actually have to do their job and police EVERYTHING.  We don't want companies only suing the easy guys or the deepest pockets and letting lots of consumers get hosed by operators with less cash or harder claims, so we require that they enforce against everyone or risk losing the mark.  This also makes sense from a confusion perspective, as if a mark is loosely enforced, it is likely that it will end up standing for lots of different producers, consumers will stop trusting it and it will be useless as a source signifier.

All of this is to say: Stop throwing around the word troll, subby, you obviously have no idea what it means.
 
2013-05-22 02:46:26 PM

nekom: Even if that someone is a total idiot? I enjoy a good Dogfish head 60 minute IPA, but if I saw a green case in the store with a catfish logo and it read "Catfish head 60 IPA" I would notice the damned difference. You have to be pretty simple to think that a green 6 is the same as an orange 9.


turns out caveat emptor is not really the legal standard.  However, the sophistication of the consumer and the cost of the product are considered.  Given the level of beer snobbery, it is actually quite possible that a court could find that the consumer sophistication was so high that there was no likelihood of confusion.  On the other hand, given the diversification of brands, and the trend of beer producres to have a theme, it seems just as likely that many consumers would think catfishhead was made by the same guys but a totally different style of beer.  That is actionable, because we are not talking about confusing products, but confusing the source of products
 
2013-05-22 02:46:28 PM
Doesn't anyone have the patent on groundlessly suing people over copyright infringement?  I think I'll go get it.. as long as I have enough backing to tie these folks up in court, the fact that the patent was made afterwards, won't even matter... They'll settle, or go out of business, because I'm not good for the kind of money they'd try to counter-sue for.
 
2013-05-22 02:46:37 PM
Different background color, different foreground color, different background pattern, different number, different symbols used, similar but not identical font, text and symbols located in different parts of the logo and in a different relationship = Trademark Infringement, apparently.
 
2013-05-22 02:49:27 PM
I don't think that Magic Hat is saying that people won't notice that it's a different color or different number.  They're saying that it is so similar to their #9 that some people might think it's made by the same brewer.  This is a pretty standard practice.  Dogfishhead has a similar logo on all their beers.  If someone came out with a slightly different dogfishhead, it could lead to confusion, even it it was a different color or number.
Same with Sam Adams.  I came out with Ben Franklin (or insert your favorite US revolutionary here) beer.  The dude on mine is only minimally different, you might think that it's a different beer by Sam Adams.  Therefore I am trading on the Sam Adams marketing that's been done for years.

Also, the fact that Magic Hat tells the truth on their site and West 6th lied about 'no one ever called us back', makes me believe that they know they're wrong but they're going to try for advertising or sympathy here. I agree they should put an actual compass on the label (I didn't get that the six was on the West side of the compass at first because I didn't realize it was a compass), and they should probably change the font of the 6 a little bit.  Agreeing with MH that they're going to do that, and then come back and say, it's too expensive, and we don't really agree with you anymore is disingenuous.
 
2013-05-22 02:49:42 PM

Dead-Guy: Doesn't anyone have the patent on groundlessly suing people over copyright infringement?  I think I'll go get it.. as long as I have enough backing to tie these folks up in court, the fact that the patent was made afterwards, won't even matter... They'll settle, or go out of business, because I'm not good for the kind of money they'd try to counter-sue for.


Haliburton tried to get a patent on patent trolling.  But then the law on business method patents changed.
 
2013-05-22 02:50:55 PM

Dead-Guy: Doesn't anyone have the patent on groundlessly suing people over copyright infringement? I think I'll go get it.. as long as I have enough backing to tie these folks up in court, the fact that the patent was made afterwards, won't even matter... They'll settle, or go out of business, because I'm not good for the kind of money they'd try to counter-sue for.


wow, this reaches new heights: mixing (1) the classic, always original (in every single IP thread) "I'm gonna patent suing people" with (2) confusing copyright and trademark.  It's kinda beautiful.

A laws winner is you!
 
2013-05-22 02:54:52 PM
Laws yes, M-O-O-N, that spells laws
 
2013-05-22 02:55:40 PM
Let's settle this with a taste test.
 
2013-05-22 02:57:36 PM
This is my favorite.
encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com

i.annihil.us
 
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