On the heels of the Troegs "Elf" actions are a couple other disputes in the craft beer world.
The first is between Boston Beer Company aka Sam Adams, and a Chandler, AZ brewery called SanTan Brewing. It's pretty straightforward. SanTan has a glass that looks quite a bit like the Sam Adams glass they've made such a big deal on, and Sam Adams says it's too similar and they need to stop. They've leveled a similar suit against an importer, Peter Sciacca, who has a similar glass product.
In this case, if Sam Adams has a design patent (which I am absolutely sure they do), they will win this suit. Sciacca has a list of what's different, but my understanding of the law on this is that he and SanTan are not on legal high ground. Fortunately for SanTan, it's just one product, and the publicity from this case will probably be more beneficial than sales of that glass would have been. Sciacca says he'll ask the patent office to revisit, but Sam Adams invested money in the engineering and design of the glass, and I can't see the protection of that investment being revoked.
Here's the thing: We do not need to like this stuff. And, as craft beer people, we probably don't like it. But this is the way the industry is going, and frankly, it's the right direction in a lot of ways.
|Ironically, I did not |
obtain IP rights for this image.
I won't pretend to know the facts of this case, but I do know that Marble Brewery is potentially confusing with Marble City Brewing, and that if it's potentially confusing, it's worth protecting.
Now, there are ways around it, and I hope that the Marble and Marble City folks avail themselves of those. For one, Marble Brewery could license the term for $1 in the state of Tennessee to Marble City. Now, for MCBC, that might be a tough draught to swallow, but it would let them do business with the stuff they've made up, and still preserve Marble's rights. There are lots of solutions. And, with 1,500 craft breweries and counting, I'm hoping the industry gets really good at finding them.
Some news and notes
- Thanks to Don at Beer and Whiskey Brothers, graphic designers can enter a contest to redesign the label for Rocket Dog, one of the beers by Laughing Dog.
- Via Jack Curtin, there's this great story in the Atlantic on women in beer, though it features a terrible pun on Charlie's Angels as the header image.
- Via TrendHunter, some great work by Mexican artist Andres Basurto using broken beer bottles.
- Thanks to Vanessa at Liquid Goodness Maven for profiling me on her blog.