Mmmm…Beer: German Brewer Tries to Trademark Homer’s Beer of Choice

By Joseph Mandour on May 1, 2014

beer-bottle-pouring-thumb-200x132-40682 Orange County – Germany-based Duff Beer UG has applied to the European Union’s general court in Luxembourg for permission to register a European Union trademark for “Duff”, Homer Simpson’s favorite beer.

The German brewer sells “the legendary Duff Beer” without any mention or logos of the legendary Simpson cartoon character on its website or packaging. Twentieth Century Fox, which produces the longest-running scripted show in television history, The Simpsons, already has two European Union trademarks to the fictional beer. In 1996, News Corp., the owner of Twentieth Century Fox, won a court case in Australia, banning another brewer from selling Duff beer.

Homer Simpson’s creator Matt Groening maintains that he will not condone Duff to be used as a real beer brand, citing that he does not want to encourage children to drink beer. However, this has not stopped a number of brewers from trying to use the brand in their attempts to capitalize on the popular cartoon. The 1996 trademark infringement case against Australian beer-maker Lion Nathan resulted in the brewer’s infringing products being pulled from store shelves and destroyed.

Brewed in Germany by the Eschweger Klosterbrauerei, Duff Beer UG filed a lawsuit with the European Union’s general court in Luxembourg, asking it to overturn a previous decision by the EU trademark agency. That decision had prevented the brewer from registering the “Duff” trademark in black, white, and red, the colors used in the cartoon to depict the label of Homer’s choice of the canned beverage.

Duff Beer is also requesting that the European Union court wait for final rulings from a Belgian court case last year that invalidated Twentieth Century Fox’s two European trademarks on the grounds that they were misleading since they weren’t registered for an actual beverage.

Earlier this year, beer consumers in the United Kingdom were able to pop a cold one in honor of Homer, when Duff Beer made the fictional beer brand into a reality by selling it in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Debuting on Fox in 1989, The Simpsons is an animated satirical parody of working-class America, depicted by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. As the longest-running American sitcom, The Simpsons has won dozens of awards, including 27 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. In the animated series, the fictional Duff Beer is Homer’s favorite beverage, and is a parody of stereotypical commercial beer: cheaply priced, poor quality, and advertised everywhere.

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