Sony Pictures is suing Calfornia based Knee Deep Brewing over their Breaking Bad tv show inspired beer, ‘Breaking Bud’.
Not only are they seeking an injunction against the artwork, but is also seeking damages for the usage. Like most legal battles, there are two sides to everything.
According to the CEO of Knee Deep Brewing, the story runs a little deeper than Sony is leading people to believe. According to the brewery, Sony’s contact with Knee Deep was one of admiration for their creation, one where they even discussed a potential partnership. Even though the partnership ideas didn’t pan out, Sony never expressed any litigious intentions at that time.
From amicable, to lawsuit in just three years.
From our CEO, regarding our friends at Sony:
I was surprised by the unexpected lawsuit filed against us by Sony yesterday, especially after they originally contacted us many years ago touting their appreciation of our Breaking Bud beer that made gentle fun of their show. Shortly after Breaking Bud was introduced, in early 2015, I actually received an email from a Sony representative that said, “It seems the Knee Deep team are big fans of Breaking Bad and we really appreciate the call out to our very popular show.” Soon thereafter I spoke with the Sony representative and we discussed the potential benefits of a formal partnership between Knee Deep and Sony but we ultimately decided not to pursue such a partnership because, among other things, our label has always been meant as a joke and not something seriously connected to the show. At no point, during those discussions, did Sony ever threaten to sue Knee Deep over the name of the beer. I’ve always been under the impression that Sony had no issue with our Breaking Bud beer since, after all, the Sony rep is the one who told me he “appreciate(ed) the call out to our very popular show” which is hardly what one would expect from someone who thinks they can sue you for the “call out” if you don’t pay them a licensing fee, which is what I gather they now want from us. Breaking Bud is one of our more successful beers, and I think our customers appreciate that the quirky label is a joke. No one has ever thought the joke meant we were endorsed by Breaking Bad. We are a small brewery and I don’t appreciate the distraction, not to mention the expense of having to deal with something that should have been addressed 3 years ago if Sony really had an issue with it.
At the end of the day, the quality of the beer is what has made Breaking Bud popular and we should all be able to take a joke.
If Sony is successful in court, their demand for damages could bankrupt the small craft brewery.
An email to Sony was not immediately returned.