Patagonia accuses Anheuser-Busch Brewery of trademark infringement for using its name and logo to sell beer

Californian clothing company Patagonia filed a lawsuit yesterday with North America’s largest brewery Anheuser-Busch, accusing them of fraudulently obtaining the ‘Patagonia’ mark with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

‘Patagonia’ was registered as a trademark by the brewery in 2012 for the use on beer products but had not been used in over 6 years. Only recently, the brewery began labelling their beers as ‘Patagonia Beer Co’ and selling them in popular Colorado ski resorts. The logo advertised on the bottles contains a mountain silhouette which the clothing company claims infringes their own mark. The original Patagonia branding mirrors the mountain silhouette logo on the beer bottle – only with different colours.

In the suit, Patagonia accuses the Missouri-based beer giant of “fraudulently” obtaining the ‘Patagonia’ beer mark and letting it lie unused for six years.

According to the complaint, the brewery told the USPTO that the mark had been in continuous use for over five years, a claim which Patagonia disputes. Moreover, Patagonia claims the brewery did not have approval for their mountain silhouette labelling and therefore “could not legally have sold beer in this form”.

A spokeswoman for Anheuser-Busch, defended the company:

“We are aware of this lawsuit and believe it to be without merit, we will vigorously defend our trademark rights.”

Patagonia is currently seeking a declaration that the mark was obtained unlawfully and an award for damages for trademark infringement.

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