(San Marcos, CA) – Port Brewing filed a complaint against Moylan’s in court last week.
[9/9 Update: Please see update from Lost Abbey/Port Brewing representative in the comments below.]
According to the complaint [PDF], “Upon information and belief, Defendent [Moylan's] recently began using a stylized cross beer tap handle within its course of business that is strikingly similar to the Port Brewing Marks.”
“Defendant is currently using a stylized cross beer tap handle, at its brewery and at other participating restaurants, bars, taverns and breweries across the nation, including within this District, featuring marks confusingly similar to Plaintiff’s stylized Port Brewing Marks. Defendant is providing this infringing beer tap to distributors and such taps are being particularly confused with Port Brewing’s protected beer taps where both companies’ beers are being served.”
“Plaintiff alleges that at all relevant times, Defendant was aware of Plaintiff’s proprietary interest in the distinctive and unique trademarks associated with Plaintiff’s various stylized Port Brewing Marks and willfully and intentionally copied Plaintiff’s
For it to get to this point, things have gotten ugly according to the North County Times:
“It’s basically about Celtic cross beer handles that I’ve been using for 15 years,” Moylan said. “First use is first use, arrogance is arrogance. That’s all I have to say.”
In a fax to the North County Times, Moylan expressed his disgust with the whole affair: “Real brewers don’t sue each other.”
Arthur said Moylan’s had traditionally used a stylized “M” on its tap handles, but added a stylized Celtic cross to its repertoire last year.
“For us it’s a very important piece of branding,” said Tomme Arthur, the brewmaster for Port Brewing, and also one of the founders and owners. “We don’t do a lot of marketing materials. Iconically, the tap handle is our focal point.”
The article indicates that Arthur first contacted Moylan in April but the sides have been unable to reach an agreement.
This is actually the second time that Moylan’s has been asked to make a change to its branding within the past year or so. When approached by another brewery about using the Kilt Lifter name on its Scotch Ale, Moylan’s chose to rename the beer in some of its Western markets. Four Peaks Brewing owns the “Kilt Lifter” trademark.