Patagonia Sues Anheuser-Busch Over Patagonia Beer Trademark
San Diego – Anheuser-Busch InBev recently launched a beer called Patagonia. The popular outdoor clothing retailer by the same name is claiming that consumers will be confused into thinking that the beer has something to do with the clothing company which it does not. Thus far Anheuser-Busch InBev has not backed down and so Patagonia has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Patagonia was founded in California in 1973 and has grown into one of the leading outdoor retailers known for its role as being a leader in environmental activism. Two years ago Patagonia sued President Trump after he attempted to limit protected national lands. In Patagonia’s complaint against Anheuser-Busch, it states, “In launching its Patagonia beer, [Anheuser-Busch] deliberately has attempted to take advantage of the hard-earned reputation that Patagonia has built over the last 40 years as a company dedicated to environmental conservation.”
The filing continues to state that Anheuser-Busch marketed the beer in Colorado ski resorts where Patagonia’s “ski apparel is widely used and universally recognized.” Adding to the confusion, Patagonia claims that the employees who were marketing the beer wore clothing that was branded with the Anheuser-Busch’s similar Patagonia logo and handed out branded outdoor equipment similar to Patagonia’s.
The question in this case is whether a typical consumer is likely to believe that the beer is connected to the clothing retailer. In this case Patagonia is claiming that confusion is especially likely because the logos are similar and because Anheuser-Busch is using the logo on apparel. Although it appears that Patagonia has a strong case, Anheuser-Busch owns a trademark registration Patagonia for use in relation to beer which it obtained by assignment in 2012. Patagonia claims that Anheuser-Busch fraudulently obtained that trademark and has not used it for six years.
Patagonia the retailer has actually been in the beer business since 2016. It utilizes the Patagonia Provisions and Long Root trademarks for beer related endeavors. To make matters worse, according to Patagonia, Anheuser-Busch supposedly reached out to Patagonia asking for more information about how Patagonia uses Kernza in their ale, a grain that Patagonia uses instead of barley.