Hard seltzer first hit the marketplace about five years ago and rapidly grew in popularity with sales exceeding $4.5 billion in 2020.  Wanting to ride the wave of success, many companies have introduced hard seltzers into this now crowded space.  But what is a hard seltzer?  Is it a form of beer or something else?  Based on its popularity, most would say, “Who cares whether hard seltzer is beer, just give me one.”  However, Modelo Grupo (“Modelo”) and Constellation Brands (“Constellation”) would say there is a lot riding on the answer.

Modelo, whose parent is Anheuser-Busch InBev (“AB”), created the Corona brand.  In 2013, Constellation acquired perpetual, irrevocable, and exclusive license rights in the Corona marks, which gave Constellation the right to sell products under the Corona trademark.  Then in 2020, Constellation introduced Corona Hard Seltzer, which is a sugar-based, fermented beverage produced in Coahuila, Mexico.  Corona Hard Seltzer is now the fourth most popular hard seltzer in the United States, competing directly with Bud Light Seltzer and other AB hard seltzers.

Modelo sued Constellation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York over the use of the Corona trademark for Corona Hard Seltzer and for breach of contract, alleging that Constellation only has the right to sell beer products, not hard seltzer, under the Corona brand.   According to Modelo, hard seltzer is not one of the allowable beer beverages.
Continue Reading Beer: You Know It When You Taste It, Or Maybe Not

If you’re familiar with Banksy, you know he’s the epitome of counterculturalism. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Banksy, he is an anonymous England-based street artist, vandal, political activist, and film director who has been active since the 1990s. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine graffiti and dark, sometimes morbid, humor. If you have a minute, take a look at his work. He certainly isn’t someone who you would expect to turn to the legal system to protect his intellectual property. In fact, he’s openly stated that “copyright is for losers.”
Continue Reading Counterculturalist Banksy to Defend His Intellectual Property in a European Cancellation Proceeding

The deadline for business to implement compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act is just around the corner and chances are most businesses are not ready.

On June 28, 2018, Governor Brown signed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018.  The Act applies to any business which does business in California, and i) has annual gross revenues in excess of $25 million; ii) buys, receives, sells, or shares for commercial purposes, the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or iii) earns more than half of its annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information. 
Continue Reading Compliance Deadline for California’s New Privacy Act Coming Up Fast; Are You Ready?

The USPTO recently refused legendary quarterback Tom Brady’s application to register the mark TOM TERRIFIC. If you’re like me, you’re wondering why Tom Brady would want to register such a trademark. Well, according to Brady, he wanted to obtain the rights to the mark to prevent people from referring to him by that nickname. But that response isn’t satisfactory for those of us who know about trademark law for a couple of reasons.
Continue Reading The USPTO Denies Tom Brady’s Application to Register TOM TERRIFIC

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”) explains that

“A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”
https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/trademark-basics.


Continue Reading Rule Change Requires U.S. Counsel for Foreign-Domiciled Trademark Applicants