Moosehead Sues Hop’n Moose for Trademark Infringement
Orange County – Moosehead Breweries is the oldest independently owned Brewery in Canada. The moose is an established icon for Moosehead which is a family-owned company founded in 1867. Moosehead owns multiple U.S. trademark registrations for “moose” and “moosehead” as well as moose-based images all for use related to beer.
Hop’n Moose Brewing Company LLC opened a brewpub named Hop’n Moose in downtown Rutland, Vermont in 2014. Its distribution is small, only selling canned beer in 15 stores in the area. Because the company uses “moose” in its name, as well as an image of a moose for the brand name, Moosehead Breweries has accused Hop’n Moose of trademark infringement. Moosehead claims the similarity has the potential to create confusion for its consumers.
Moosehead has stated that legal action is always the last resort when dealing with infringements and that the company tries to amicably resolve infringement issues behind closed doors first. However, Hop’n Moose has disputed that consumers are likely to be confused and thus far has refused to cease use of the moose words and design.
This is not the first time Moosehead Breweries has had a standoff with another company over an alleged trademark infringement. On record, there have been about 10 other allegations in which it appears that Moosehead Breweries typically comes out on top. Moosehead has previously tangled with Regina’s District Brewing Company and its Müs Knuckle lager (despite moose being spelled entirely different) and also the non-alcoholic root beer logo of Adirondack Pub & Brewery Inc. called “Moose Wizz.”
Regina’s District Brewing Company has since removed Müs Knuckle lager from its website and “Moose Wizz” is now “Bear Wizz.”
Perhaps the most noteworthy Moosehead trademark infringement issue was with Stack Brewing in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Stack Brewing rebranded its Angry Moose and Friendly Moose beers after they also heard from Moosehead. Making light of the situation, Stack Brewing humorously made an anniversary beer called “Trademark Infringement.” We’re guessing it leaves a bitter taste.
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