Patagonia Is Suing AB InBev Over Beer Packaging, Branded Merchandise With Similar Name, Logo
Two weeks ago, AB InBev made headlines with the launch of a new merchandise venture. Now, it's back in the news over branded merchandise, but not in a good way. This time, it's over a trademark infringement dustup with Patagonia, the outdoor apparel brand, who is charging the beverage giant with issuing a brew and affiliated branded merchandise that creates confusion with its own name and logo.
In its lawsuit, Patagonia holds that AB InBev launched a beer dubbed “Patagonia,” with label and packaging design that incorporate elements similar to the apparel brand's well-known emblem. AB InBev is also selling its own Patagonia (beer) branded apparel at pop-up stores at ski resorts, with a logo treatment that looks awfully familiar. The Sacramento Bee relayed that said garments include hats, scarves and T-shirts, items that Patagonia feels could cause brand confusion. Add to this mix AB InBev’s marketing of the beverage though Patagonia already sells two different branded beers of its own, and we have what should be a very involved case.
Check out this side by side of the designs:
These images from the Patagonia trademark infringement suit against AB-InBev from @washingtonpost. Really? While AB-InBev did register PATAGONIA for beer several years ago, this seems designed to confuse. pic.twitter.com/K5RZKyEg3x
— Eugene Pak (@BeerAttorney) April 11, 2019
It certainly seems that Patagonia has a strong gripe against AB InBev, especially since it's been selling its aforementioned beer for three years now. AB InBev's Patagonia beer, the plaintiff asserts, had a trademark that was “fraudulently obtained” in 2012 and left unused until last year, only recently visible through the Colorado-set promotion of the resulting beer and the branded goods.
We would love to be a fly on the wall of whatever courthouse comes to hear the arguments surrounding this matchup, as it is going to represent another case of a high-profile business in the less common role of defendant. AB InBev certainly has the cash to hire top-notch legal representation. But will the retained talent be enough to negate the trademark infringement argument and allow the company to benefit as much, if not more, from the Patagonia name than the business that has reaped benefits from that title since 1973?