Small Brewery Takes on Molson Coors Over Promotional T-shirts
Summer should involve a number of ways to kick back and brush aside thoughts of all of the responsibilities that can weigh heavily on our hearts and minds. Some folks require fancy getaways as parts of their brain breaks, while others are just content to call on comforting furniture to help put everything into perspective. One such relaxation inducer, the Muskoka chair, has hit the news cycle, as Molson Coors Canada finds itself facing legal backlash from the Muskoka Brewery over promotional T-shirts whose inclusion of a chair logo too closely, in the minds of the plaintiffs, resembles their own.
Courtroom-centered controversies surrounding the marketing of alcoholic beverages are not new dilemmas, nor is this the first occasion upon which Molson has found itself critiqued for its product line. Therefore, this matter is going to sound similar to those who are versed in cases involving trademark infringement claims, with an added level of familiarity to it given that the object in question serves as what Narcity has dubbed “the most iconic visual representation of Canadian cottage life.”
(Interesting socio-cultural-economics; the embattled, endowed Chair. Is this David and Goliath?) Who’s chair is it, anyways? Muskoka Brewery sues Molson Coors over depiction of Muskoka chair - The Star https://t.co/4jfAptWvtI
— Akira Tokuhiro, PhD (@TokuhiroAkira) June 29, 2019
Much like last week, when we learned that the Brits refer to a onesie as a “babygro,” we picked up a little knowledge today, as Americans typically refer to a Muskoka chair as an Adirondack chair. Regardless of the title of the object, its look is pretty universal, and that visual uniformity has the small brewery wanting Molson Coors to sit out this opportunity to market a shirt using the image. Muskoka Brewery says that the beverage heavyweight’s shirt includes a logo that end-users might confuse with their eight-year-old symbol, and according to Todd Lewin, Muskoka's president, Molson's track record of purchasing smaller craft breweries could also lead buyers to believe that his entity had undergone an identity shift. With no such transformation in the works, “We had to do this,” he told The Star.
Molson Coors t-shirt design has allegedly infringed on Muskoka Brewery’s trademarks. Now, Muskoka Brewery has issued a claim in the Federal Court of Canada. https://t.co/IsNj0nvMWU
— Food in Canada (@FoodinCanada) June 28, 2019
In terms of the possible success of his employer’s lawsuit, one wonders if Molson, as a high-profile defendant, has enough clout to contend that its depiction will not disrupt the integrity of the trademarked Muskoka Brewery image. The more renowned business has issued a shirt whose Muskoka chair faces straight, while the plaintiff’s garment has a sideways-facing emblem. We could see, ahead of the intensified tete-a-tete between the two, how each could establish a decent case, with Molson citing the differences in the angles of the chairs and Muskoka stating that the businesses’ existence as Canada-based libations providers could very well compromise its standing within the beverage community. As this matter unfolds, we will be eager to see who will emerge victorious and who will don a bitter beer face.