Suggestion: Stay away from any moose-related beer names or logos from here on out. A Canadian brewery is locking antlers with a Vermont brewpub over the rights to use moose iconography to brand their beers. Specifically, Moosehead Breweries filed an infringement lawsuit against Hop’n Moose Brewing brewpub, according to CBC News, and this is far from Moosehead’s first trademark battle.
“As a family-owned company, Moosehead Breweries respects and supports the efforts of small business owners everywhere,” Moosehead said in an emailed statement to CBC News on Tuesday. “It is, however, incumbent on us to protect our business interests, including our corporate trademarks.”
The moose has been an icon of Moosehead, the oldest independently owned brewery in Canada, for decades. The company owns “multiple” U.S. trademark registrations for the words “moose” and “moosehead,” as well as moose-based images, according to the statement.
Moosehead certainly has time on its side, as it was founded in 1867 and switched to its current name in 1947 while Hop’n Moose opened in downtown Rutland, Vt., in 2014 and recently started canning its beer, which is sold in about 15 nearby stores.
Now, even if your craft brewery isn’t looking to cause any hard feelings, if you see a potential infringement of your trademark, you have to do something about it. Trademark law basically forces you to defend your turf or risk losing it. It’s a jerk like that, and apparently Moosehead is well versed in this world having taken issue with several breweries’ use of moose in beer names and in logos the last few years, even getting non-alcoholic beverage Moose Wizz to change its name to Bear Wizz.
In the article, the Moosehead team claims to have gone the typical craft beer industry route at first and looked to avoid lititgation and compromise with Hop’n Moose on a solution, but apparently those talks broke down.
“When faced with issues of trademark violation, litigation is always a last resort,” Moosehead said in the statement.
“We always — as we did in this case — attempt to work out resolutions with any breweries considered to be violating Moosehead trademarks,” it said.
Discussions with Hop’n Moose owner Dale Patterson “reached an impasse, necessitating the present action,” said Moosehead.
But the company remains “open to further discussions.”