Posted in Headlines, Lawsuits, NOLA Brewing

MechaHopzilla Gets NOLA Brewing Sued

A witty name for a hoppy beer has gotten NOLA Brewing Co. stuck in a lawsuit.  Toho Co. Ltd. is claiming that NOLA’s MechaHopzilla that was released last year infringes on currently held trademarks.

The lawsuit covers not only the name but also the image that appears on the can (seen above). According to, NOLA applied for a trademark for the name before selling the beer for the first time in 2012.


Posted in Beer News, Fegley's Brewworks, Lawsuits, Troegs Brewing

Troegs Withdraws Trademark Challenge

Troegs and Fegleys have been having a “minor” disagreement over an Elf.  As you might recall – Troegs makes Mad Elf, Fegleys makes Rude Elf’s Reserve.  Troegs filed a trademark challenge against Fegley’s.

Troegs has withdrawn the challenge as of October 20, 2011.  Brew Works countersued stating that Troegs changed the logo for Mad Elf in 2006.  In legal-ese, when Troegs made the choice to change the logo, they abandoned the continued use of the logo for which they filed infringement upon.

“We may need a different name since we technically should have been using the old label continually, from a trademark stance,” Troegs co-founder Chris Trogner writes in the e-mails, which were included with the suit.

At any rate, the suit has been withdrawn, with full details not being disclosed.  The Elves look to live peacefully.  For now.  [LeighValleyLive]



Posted in Bell's Brewing, Lawsuits

Bell’s Sues Over “Copper Bell” Logo

Bell’s Brewing is seeking a court order preventing Winery Exchange Inc (Novato, CA) to win a trademark over “Copper BELL” beer name.  Bell’s is also seeking a financial settlement.

Bell’s sent a “cease and desist letter” to Winery Exchange over the summer, asking for them to no longer use the “Bells” mark as it’s using creates brand confusion.

According to the suit the use of Bell’s on the cans:

...intended to and is likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception of the trade and public, and to cause the trade and the public to believe that such products are the same as Bell’s products or are authorized,”

The Bell’s logo by the Michigan brewery has been in use since 1985.  [AnnArbor]

Link To Full Suit Details


Posted in Beer News, Flying Dog Brewing, Lawsuits

Michigan Gets Bitchy Over Label

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but can you judge a beer by its label?  Beer becomes a first amendment issue.  @JayeMarie, beer lover & future lawyer helps breakdown the legal side of this beer issue.

The Breakdown: Flying Dog filed suit in federal court this week against the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) with the request that the federal judge overturn the state-wide ban on one of its top selling beers, Raging Bitch, and award Flying Dog damages for the loss of sales due to the ban.

All out of state beer manufacturers must apply to the MLCC for a license to sell their product within the state of Michigan.  Failure to do so may result in criminal charges.

Flying Dog first applied for a license to sell Raging Bitch in 2009 but was turned down.  The brewery appealed only to be turned down again because according to the MLLC, the brew’s name, label, and statement on the back “contains such language deemed detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the general public.”

Flying Dog’s newly filed complaint alleges their “core First Amendment” rights were violated when the MLCC banned the sale of Raging Bitch because the MLCC has “taken it upon themselves to control not merely alcoholic beverages, but speech as well.”

On his company’s blog, Jim Caruso, CEO or Flying Dog said he believes it is about a lot more than a mere beer label, “We believe not only in freedom of speech and artistic expression for both businesses and individuals, but also in the individual’s fundamental right to choose or reject books, art, literature, artisanal craft beer, and other forms of artistic expression based on their personal preferences.”

Why it’s concerning: With the rapid growth in the craft brewing, many brewers have already, or will face this problem when they look to expand their business. With greater nationwide distribution, each individual state’s alcohol licensing board determines what is acceptable.  This is exactly why the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise has joined Flying Dog in their case. In a statement on Flying Dog’s blog, lan Gottlieb, president of the center said, “The issues raised have a profound impact on the right to freely engage in the marketplace.”

Raging Bitch: The 20th anniversary Belgian Style IPA

To see the full complaint filed by Flying Dog:

Special Thanks to Jacklyn Johnston for the legal insight!

Posted in Beer News, Lawsuits, Troegs Brewing

Battle Of The Elves

Wrestlemania is a week away.  Perhaps a battle of the elves is in order.  Troeg’s Brewing (Harrisburg, PA) has filed a cease & desist order against Bethlehem Brew Works (Bethlehem, PA), makers of Fegley’s beers.

The Breakdown:
Troeg’s Brewing makes Mad Elf – a Belgian strong dark ale with cherries. Arrives at Christmas time each year.  Bethlehem makes Rude Elf’s Reserve, a Belgian strong dark ale with spices.  As evidenced by the image, both beers contain images of an elf, with a close color scheme.   Rude Elf’s Reserve has been known by another name – Rudolph’s Reserve, but changed it after a similar lawsuit in 2004.  Fegley’s owns a patent on the Rude Elf’s Reserve beer name.

Troeg’s Brewing holds the belief that due to Mad Elf – they own the term elf when referenced to ales & lagers. <Lehigh Valley Live>