March 29, 2021

And In The Never-Ending “Beer Wars” Department: Patagonia

The clothing company Patagonia, Inc. and the beer maker Anheuser-Busch, LLC have just settled their trademark lawsuit over A-B’s use of the term “Patagonia Beer” and a logo that Patagonia claimed was too similar to its own mountain backdrop. 

Patagonia sued A-B in April 2019.  At that time, A-B had started selling “Patagonia” beer in Colorado under a subsidiary called Patagonia Brewing Company. Patagonia alleged that A-B was trying to make it appear that it was Patagonia itself that was making and selling the beer and thereby confuse consumers. Patagonia claimed that A-B was illegally profiting from Patagonia’s environmentally-conscious image.

A-B sought to dismiss the lawsuit, contending that Patagonia’s trademark wasn’t sufficiently famous and didn’t deserve trademark protection. A-B also pointed out that a Patagonia brand of beer had already been selling in South America for over 10 years and that A-B had acquired those trademark rights in 2012.

A federal judge denied A-B’s motion to dismiss in September 2019, stating that Patagonia’s trademark had become famous and distinctive, and therefore Patagonia had the right to sue for trademark infringement. 

As a result of the settlement, Patagonia and A-B dismissed the lawsuit. The dismissal agreement does not disclose the terms of the parties’ settlement.

You can decide whether A-B’s Patagonia label was too similar to Patagonia’s trademark:

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