When it comes to football, I am a huge fan and love watching games on TV.  However, I do not typically pay attention to the commercials during games, with one major exception:  the Super Bowl.  Like most everyone, I am always curious to see which company will have the best and the worst Super Bowl commercials.  We always expect Anheuser-Busch (maker of Bud Light) and Molson Coors (maker of Miller Lite and Coors Lite) to bring out big gun ads.  After all, for many football fans, a game day means grabbing a beer (or several), so companies spend a lot of money to convince fans to grab their brands over others.  The competition rose to a new level in Super Bowl LIII when Anheuser-Busch introduced its ad campaign mocking Molson Coors’ use of corn syrup in brewing Miller Lite and Coors Lite.  These ads not only triggered a social media battle but also a battle in the courtroom over whether the Bud Lite ads constituted false or misleading advertising.

During the 2019 Super Bowl, Anheuser-Busch started its “corn syrup” ad campaign with an ad featuring the Bud Light King and his subjects trying to return a barrel of corn syrup, which they had received by mistake, to the Miller Light and Coors Light castles.  The ad effectively told a story that Anheuser-Busch does not use corn syrup to make Bud Light, but Molson Coors uses it to make Miller Lite and Coors Lite.
Continue Reading Football, Beer, and Court Fights

Another intellectual property dispute has arisen in the brewing industry. This time, however, the battle took place on Canadian soil. British Columbia based Pacific Western Brewing (“PWB”) sued renowned Mexican brewery Cerveceria del Pacifico (“CDP”), arguing the latter’s name was confusingly similar to PWB’s various brew-related trademarks. For those who do not know, Cerveceria del Pacifico is the brewery responsible for Cerveza Pacifico Clara, better known as Pacifico. Although the claim concerns numerous PWB marks, the lawsuit seems to center on the alleged similarity between their Pacific Pilsner marks and CDP’s Pacifico marks. After analyzing the merits of this case, I cannot understand why PWB felt the need to pursue this lawsuit. Aside from both marks generally using the word “Pacific,” the marks are vastly different.

First, Cerveza Pacifico ClaraPacificPilsner355ml-220pimage is clearly distinct from Pacific Pilsner. Even if you compare the commonly used name Pacifico to Pacific Pilsner, the marks are distinguishable, albeit slightly more similar. Further, the respective design marks are distinct. Pacifico’s mark is generally presented against a bright yellow background with the words appearing in red and a different shade of yellow. The logo also features a lifesaver encompassing a hill with the port city of Mazatlan’s lighthouse hill, known locally as Cerro Del Creston. In contrast, Pacific Pilsner’s mark is generally presented against a white background with the words appearing in red and iridescent blue. Although the PWB designs vary slightly, they consistently include a sailboat. Based on these descriptions, it should be clear that the marks are patently distinguishable.


Continue Reading Pacifico Defends its Trademark Rights on Canadian Soil