Maine Brewery Locked in for End-all Trademark Fight with AB InBev and 10 Barrel
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THE GIST

A small brewery in Maine says it plans to take on the world’s largest beer maker and its high-end portfolio over a rather apocalyptic trademark dispute.

The row started earlier this summer when Mason’s Brewing of Maine says it received a cease and desist letter claiming its “Hipster Apocalypse” IPA infringes upon Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned 10 Barrel Brewing’s “valuable trademark rights” relating to its own “Apocalypse IPA.”

According to the letter, dated from August but shared by Mason’s on Wednesday, the company’s counsel advised that 10 Barrel “cannot allow Mason’s to sell beer that capitalizes off the goodwill” the company had generated with the beer, which has been on the market since 2009. In response, Mason’s shared a brief statement on Facebook, which read in part, “The great Billy Shakespeare once opined, ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’ However, we're pretty sure Christopher Marlowe’s (globally funded mega-corp.) barristers didn't immediately take action on all uses of the word ‘Rose.’”

WHY IT MATTERS

Reached for further comment by GBH, Mason’s founder Chris Morley says the company went public with the dispute today in light of failed attempts at resolution. Namely, he says, his company initially countered 10 Barrel’s opposition by offering to enter a trademark co-existence agreement, adding his company already employs similar arrangements with two other comparably named businesses. He says he believed that such an agreement would’ve been amenable for a number of reasons, adding that Mason’s is much smaller, operates on the other side of the country from 10 Barrel, and their respective labels bear very little resemblance apart from sharing a single word (a word that is employed by a number of brewers no less).

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