Anheuser-Busch Files Trademark for San Diego Area Code 619

By Joseph Mandour on October 14, 2011

beer-bottle-pouring-thumb-200x132-40682 San Diego, CA – Earlier this year, Anheuser-Busch InBev acquired Chicago-based Goose Island Beer Company for $38.8 million and pledged an additional $1.3 million to expand Goose Island’s brewing capacity to meet its rapidly growing demand.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal included trademarks on “312 Urban Wheat” and “312 Urban Wheat Ale Goose Island Chicago,” one of Goose Island’s most popular beers. Anheuser-Busch recently applied for 15 additional trademarks for the area codes of major cities throughout the U.S. including San Diego’s 619 and San Francisco’s (415).

Anheuser-Busch’s move to acquire these trademarks suggests that the company may plan to release similar pseudo-craft beers in the implicated cities to replicate the success found with Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat. The idea being that having an area code associated with a beer provides a seemingly local and authentic feel to the beer that attracts thirsty consumers. The other prevailing theory is that Anheuser-Busch simply wishes to protect itself from the threat of its competition mimicking the success of 312 by releasing beers stamped with the area code of their respective cities.

The Applications were filed on an Intent to Use basis meaning they are not yet in use in commerce. If the USPTO issues a Notice of Allowance after the trademark is published for Opposition in the Official Gazette, Anheuser Busch will be able to request extensions for up to three years if the trademark is not yet in use. The trademark only protects the area code from being used in association with products or services that are likely to be confused with Anheuser Busch’s use for beer. San Diego residents should be on the lookout for an Anheuser-Busch product disguised as a 619 craft beer.

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