Patagonia sues AB InBev for using its brand name to sell beer

Clothing company Patagonia, which produces two beers through its food division Patagonia Provisions, has filed a lawsuit against beer giant AB InBev for launching a beer with a “strikingly similar” logo.

The clothing company’s logo

The outdoor clothing specialist also accuses the world’s largest brewer of taking “advantage of its tremendous goodwill” and of setting out to create confusion between the two brands.

Patagonia launched its first beer, called Long Root, in 2016. AB InBev obtained the trademark for Patagonia beer in the US in 2012, but launched the Patagonia Brewing Company brand in the US in 2018. The brewery, Cervecería y Maltería Quilmes, is based in Argentina and launched the beer in 2006.

In the lawsuit, filed this week at the US District Court in California, the clothing retailer stated: “In launching its Patagonia beer, AB InBev deliberately has attempted to take advantage of the tremendous goodwill that Patagonia, Inc. and Patagonia Provisions, Inc. (together, ‘Patagonia’ or ‘Plaintiffs’) have cultivated in their brand, and the hard-earned reputation that Patagonia, Inc. has built over the last 40 years as a company dedicated to environmental conservation.

AB InBev’s Patagonia beer.

“AB InBev has gone as far as creating a logo that is strikingly similar to Patagonia’s famous mountain silhouette logo that has appeared continuously for decades on millions of products.”

Patagonia also alleged that AB InBev had been promoting its new beer at ski resorts where its clothing range is popular and has been handing out branded jackets, beanies, t-shirts and scarves with its beer.

It accuses AB InBev of unfair competition and asked the court to order AB InBev to repay any losses it has incurred as a results of its activities, including profits and attorney fees.

In a statement provided to Fast Company, a spokesperson for AB InBev said: “We are aware of this lawsuit and believe it to be without merit. We will vigorously defend our trademark rights.”

This is the second recent lawsuit that has been filed against the maker of Budweiser. Last month, US brewer MillerCoors filed a lawsuit against AB InBev over the latter’s “false and misleading advertising campaign” shown during this year’s Super Bowl.

AB InBev ran three adverts during the Super Bowl promoting its beer brand Bud Light. Using the brand’s tongue-in-cheek medieval theme, the ad highlighted the use of corn syrup by MillerCoors in its brands Miller Lite and Coors Light, ending with the tagline “Bud Light, brewed with no corn syrup”.

MillerCoors claimed that AB InBev had purposefully deceived customers into thinking that there’s corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup in Miller Lite and Coors Light.

In the lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, MillerCoors stated that it only uses corn syrup (not high-fructose corn syrup) as a fermentation aid and thus “no corn syrup appears in the finished Miller Lite and Coors Light beer products”. It added that “there is no HFCS in any of MillerCoors products”.

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