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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 63
    More: Sad, Magic Hat, irreparable injury  
•       •       •

11767 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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Archived thread
2013-05-22 01:55:56 PM  
5 votes:

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.


+1.  This case seems to be fundamentally different than the patent troll cases reported in other threads.  Magic Hat is a real brand with a real trademark that they developed themselves -- not an entity that buys IP rights and sues on them for profit.  If they let other people encroach on their mark, they could lose it.  While getting sued isn't fun, and while I'll reserve judgment on the ultimate trademark claim merits, putting "troll" in this headline is very misleading.
2013-05-22 11:58:37 AM  
5 votes:
encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com

Note that the logo is inverted.
2013-05-22 01:02:09 PM  
4 votes:
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?
2013-05-22 04:02:28 PM  
3 votes:
My proposed solution to the whole problem:
ancientscrossroads.com
/ Spent all of 30 minutes to create.
2013-05-22 02:39:30 PM  
3 votes:
And then there are these...
machoarts.com
2013-05-22 02:13:53 PM  
3 votes:
I wonder what PepsiCo thinks about Magic Hat's logo for their cucumber hibiscus ale?

www.mustlovebeer.com
2013-05-22 01:39:53 PM  
3 votes:

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.


It's all bullshiat. "Their brewing company logo has a number, a circle and a star, which looks a lot like one of our beer's logos which also has a number, a circle and a star!"

Fark off, Magic Hat.
2013-05-22 12:06:52 PM  
3 votes:
Wow.  That's definitely one of the most frivolous lawsuits I've heard of in quite awhile.
2013-05-22 05:51:34 PM  
2 votes:

missmez: Maud Dib: missmez: I just can't bring myself to care about any beer that comes in a can.

Typical woman, knows nothing about beer.

[ironhops.com image 228x300]


[www.selectism.com image 540x363]


[3.bp.blogspot.com image 650x488]

[www.ohbeautifulbeer.com image 450x367]

No, I am a woman who drinks local.  If it doesn't come out of a tap or a growler, I won't touch it.


Choosing to miss out. Interesting.
2013-05-22 04:22:20 PM  
2 votes:
Magic Hat can kiss their business in Kentucky goodbye, not that it means much to a foreign-owned multi-national conglomerate.

There is no confusion "on the ground". West Sixth (located on West Sixth Street in a converted former Rainbo Bread Factory in Downtown Lexington, KY) started in Spring 2012. From the get-go, before there was any distribution, folks flocked to the brewery, which has become a vibrant community center in what was a depressed area. West Sixth's success is tied to excellent beer, a close bond with the community, and a lot of word-of-mouth. The logo could be anything, really--not that important. People here drink West Sixth because it is an awesome beer made by very cool people, who are tending bar and manning the brewery everyday. Magic Hat (Ass Hat) and their logo have absolutely nothing to do with the success of West Sixth locally.

I was never a fan of Magic Hat before (the worst beer I ever tasted was some version of Magic Hat at a craft beer festival). Going forward, I'll never even consider giving them a nickel's worth of business, after this steaming crock of corporate bully lawsuit.
2013-05-22 04:19:21 PM  
2 votes:

Lost Thought 00: Magic Hat has a point. Same specialized font, and exact same 8-pointed star design. West Sixth needs to come up with a new logo.


Maybe they'd have a point if they had trademarked the font, or the 8-pointed star design.  As it is, they only trademarked the name "#9."
2013-05-22 03:05:57 PM  
2 votes:

JK47: 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.


I'm all about pulling for the little guy, but if the evidence presented in the form of the letters between the two companies is legit, Magic Hat did the reasonable route first and ended up getting the cold shoulder.  Going past that, they have to defend their trademark.  The W6BC logo looks like it is a spin-off of Magic Hat, and the distributors, the ones that live and die by understanding how Joe Schmoe reacts to product display, sees confusion in that.

nunyadang: 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


Exactly; even if you hate Magic Hat's product they have a legitimate business and what appears to be a legit complaint.  Personally, I like Magic Hat when they're "on" but their consistency batch-to-batch leaves something to be desired.
2013-05-22 02:26:21 PM  
2 votes:
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 02:24:15 PM  
2 votes:

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 02:08:42 PM  
2 votes:
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.
2013-05-22 02:07:51 PM  
2 votes:

evilmrsock: not posting the damn image


HURR I'M A DURR

fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net
2013-05-22 02:07:43 PM  
2 votes:

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.


Strangely enough, West 6th was hurt by it, given that at least one store refused to sell their products over it.
Bf+
2013-05-22 02:05:26 PM  
2 votes:
"Your 6 on the side of the green label with a star looks too much like our 9 in the middle of our red label with a pound sign and squiggles... change your logo or we sue"?
Yeah, Fark Magic Hat on this one.
2013-05-22 02:03:29 PM  
2 votes:
The logos do look similar and there are two sides to every story.

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
2013-05-22 02:01:36 PM  
2 votes:
Actually just tried one of west sixth's beers last night. It was pretty farking amazing, better than magic hat IMO
2013-05-22 01:59:43 PM  
2 votes:

impaler: [encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com image 327x154]

Note that the logo is inverted.


If I'm sitting at a bar or table and see those on coasters, I would likely presume it was some variation on the same company.
2013-05-22 01:57:31 PM  
2 votes:
I can't stand magic hat #9 - apricots in beer really- but the first thing I saw when the page came up was the #9 logo.  It took a second to realize it was a six.  Yes you have to defend your trademarks
2013-05-22 01:49:12 PM  
2 votes:

I_Am_Weasel: They look similar to me.

Of course, I'm not a law talking dude.


They looked similar to the distributors, too.

I have to wonder if Magic Hat's "amicable resolution" discussions actually happened and then fell apart, or they just jumped into the cease-and-desist and pay-me-royalties route.
2013-05-22 01:47:35 PM  
2 votes:

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.
2013-05-22 01:28:20 PM  
2 votes:
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.
2013-05-23 09:27:51 AM  
1 votes:
http://www.magicasshat.com/

which of you farkers made this?
2013-05-23 06:40:42 AM  
1 votes:

CourtroomWolf: it depends on a bunch of arcane, impenetrable rules,


or 8 pretty straightforward factors i went through the trouble of explaining in this very thread
2013-05-22 10:19:25 PM  
1 votes:

tlchwi02: downstairs: fiddle-faddle: I always liked this bit of laziness. Apparently, this "G" got treated like clip-art.

[i.chzbgr.com image 401x271]

Grambling's logo also.

I believe they all received permission from the Packers.

could be vice versa. I know my college owned the rights to the St Louis cardinals logo for a long time (we pre-dated them by more than a bit.) they ended up buying the logo for a one time fee and a guarantee that the college would always be allowed to use it



The Packers trademarked the design in 1961 and granted limited permission to the later-designed Georgia and Grambling people.

/Cheeseheads all know this--surprised everyone doesn't.
2013-05-22 07:36:16 PM  
1 votes:

fiddle-faddle: And then there are these...
[machoarts.com image 476x723]


Most of those businesses do not overlap in their markets. At most one sent a letter to the other to acknowledge the trademarks as similar to show that it was "defended" These similar trademarks are not as big a deal. However, these are both breweries. In the same line of business, trademark infringement is a big deal.
2013-05-22 05:36:57 PM  
1 votes:

missmez: I just can't bring myself to care about any beer that comes in a can.


Typical woman, knows nothing about beer.

ironhops.com


www.selectism.com

3.bp.blogspot.com

www.ohbeautifulbeer.com
2013-05-22 05:34:31 PM  
1 votes:

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.


I like how his "working with them" was basically a cease and desist with nicer wording so they look reasonable.  Letter chain abruptly ends when they clarify that they are not willing to do exactly as Magic Hat wants.
2013-05-22 05:04:05 PM  
1 votes:

Theaetetus: missmez: I just can't bring myself to care about any beer that comes in a can.

[beerstreetjournal.com image 570x427]


I'm glad they made it in cans, but why on god's green earth is it $16.50 + dep for a damn 12-pack in Massachusetts?  I can get much better beers for $4-5 cheaper.
2013-05-22 04:33:12 PM  
1 votes:
blogs-images.forbes.com
+
si0.twimg.com
=
www.mustlovebeer.com
2013-05-22 04:32:31 PM  
1 votes:
My advice to West Sixth Brewing Company would be to change your logo. Magic Hat has deeper pockets. Some fights are just not worth it.

It may be possible to get back at them at some point though.

Change the logo and come out with a beer that contains the word "Magic" or "Hat" .

May I suggest West Sixth Wizard Hat Ale. With a new logo of course. Maybe a "6" next to an upraised finger.
2013-05-22 04:24:57 PM  
1 votes:
sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net
2013-05-22 04:20:53 PM  
1 votes:

Tumunga: Mayostard: When you're pouring it, it becomes Magic Hat #9.

^^^^^


...... and when you've digested it, it becomes Coors Light.
2013-05-22 03:43:53 PM  
1 votes:
I'll let the Fark lawyers work this out, but on principle I feel like Magic Hat's going a bit beyond what's necessary here.

It's difficult for me to try and look at this as an outsider as I go to West 6th frequently and very much enjoy their IPA. Perhaps because I'm so familiar with West 6th it never has occurred to me that the logos might look similar and I can't imagine being confused when at the liquor store or looking at the taps. I kind of see some of the similarities, but I find it insulting as a consumer that Magic Hat doesn't think I can tell the difference. I've never really drunk much Magic Hat because there are better, cheaper beers (like West 6th), but it would take a lot for them to win me over after this.
2013-05-22 03:30:49 PM  
1 votes:

factoryconnection: 'm all about pulling for the little guy, but if the evidence presented in the form of the letters between the two companies is legit, Magic Hat did the reasonable route first and ended up getting the cold shoulder. Going past that, they have to defend their trademark.


I agree with this stuff, however the trademark is for "#9."  The beer they claim is infringing does not have a # sign, nor does it have a 9.  It seems to me their defense is a bit overzealous.

factoryconnection: Magic Hat did the reasonable route first and ended up getting the cold shoulder.


The very end of the first letter, West Sixth Brewing says "in an effort to resolve the matter, we will agree to remove the stylized compass design..."

Magic Hat asked amongst other things that West Sixth pull their application to trademark the "6" with "West Sixth Brewing" wrapped around it.  http://www.trademarkia.com/west-sixth-brewing-6-85739821.html

I still think Magic Hat are the douchebags, though West Sixth probably didn't need to lie about how things went down.
2013-05-22 03:19:45 PM  
1 votes:

Theaetetus: 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.


And my ain't those letters funny.  Especially the parts in which the Magic Hat attorney keeps on trying ot refer to the number 6 as "an inverted 9", and the response from the 6th attorney stating the obvious "consumers are not likely to be confused between "6" and "#9", particularly in light of the number of third party uses of numerals on or in connection with beer".

The further communication shows a strong desire by 6th to make some alterations to its designs (including its pending trademark application) to actually differentiate itself from the Magic Hat 9 without completely giving over creative control of their image to Magic Hat, and Magic Hat's total ass-hattery.  The manner in which Magic Hat approaches this issue certainly makes it seem like they are going above and beyond mere "defense of trademark" and are just trying to push 6th around.
2013-05-22 03:15:27 PM  
1 votes:
Being that they're both beers and the 'font' of the numbers are identical (and a 6 and 9 and basically the same shape) they have some standing.  They should sue the design company to recover any losses.
2013-05-22 02:57:36 PM  
1 votes:
This is my favorite.
encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com

i.annihil.us
2013-05-22 02:39:43 PM  
1 votes:

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 02:39:32 PM  
1 votes:
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 02:35:01 PM  
1 votes:
The correspondence between lawyers suggests that West Sixth can go fark itself.
2013-05-22 02:30:24 PM  
1 votes:

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 02:29:09 PM  
1 votes:
The 6th SBC looks alot like the tap handle for number 9.

/number 9 is good stuff.
2013-05-22 02:27:11 PM  
1 votes:
Identical!

i436.photobucket.com
2013-05-22 02:26:10 PM  
1 votes:

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 02:21:18 PM  
1 votes:

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 02:20:03 PM  
1 votes:

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 02:16:47 PM  
1 votes:

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 02:08:07 PM  
1 votes:
glancing at that logo, it does look like a magic hat... they have a point. not sure why the west sixth folk thought that design was going to be ok
2013-05-22 02:03:30 PM  
1 votes:

impaler: [encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com image 327x154]

Note that the logo is inverted.


First thing I see is teh logo when I click, then the words magic hat.
As a Vermonter, and a beer drinker, and having a GED in law from an online university, I'd say they have a case.
/you can still get 24 in a case, right?
2013-05-22 02:02:57 PM  
1 votes:

factoryconnection: 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.


This is a good point.  I'm only a Law GED, but my understanding is that companies must defend their IP from the get-go or it gets harder to defend it later (i.e. you can't just wait for something to become profitable and then suddenly sue someone).  I don't know if that's how it happens in practice but that's at least the intent behind the law.

Although, to counter myself, if it really was just about defending the IP, Magic Hat could've handled it much better, and taken a cue from Jack Daniels: http://news.yahoo.com/jack-daniels-sends-most-polite-cease-desist-let t er-194518912.html
2013-05-22 02:02:53 PM  
1 votes:
The first thing I thought when I opened the page, before I even saw the words "Magic Hat" was "boy that logo looks a lot like the Magic Hat #9 logo".
2013-05-22 02:02:13 PM  
1 votes:
As soon as the image of the logo popped up on my browser I knew what the problem was.  They do look similar and if I saw that logo I would assume it was from Magic Hat.  Change the logo or fight it out in court.
2013-05-22 02:02:07 PM  
1 votes:

EdNortonsTwin: If I'm sitting at a bar or table and see those on coasters, I would likely presume it was some variation on the same company.


Because they use the same font?
2013-05-22 01:58:56 PM  
1 votes:

Cheron: I can't stand magic hat #9 - apricots in beer really- but the first thing I saw when the page came up was the #9 logo.  It took a second to realize it was a six.  Yes you have to defend your trademarks


Really? First thing you saw was a #9? Are you Australian?
2013-05-22 01:58:10 PM  
1 votes:
Touch one here.

I loves my some Magic Hat #9
2013-05-22 01:58:01 PM  
1 votes:

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.


That's kind of the problem that everyone has with this lawsuit.  It starts with the presumption that the trademark is being infringed when it absolutely is not, and then claims that Magic Hat must defend it.
2013-05-22 01:55:44 PM  
1 votes:

factoryconnection: but one must defend trademarks or risk losing their legal standing.


Yeah, but one most have a trademark infringed before they can defend it.
2013-05-22 01:52:49 PM  
1 votes:
Mega douchebagery there.
2013-05-22 01:47:30 PM  
1 votes:
They look similar to me.

Of course, I'm not a law talking dude.
 
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