Sam Adams Beer Tells Real Sam Adams He Can't Use Sam Adams In A Domain Name

from the how-would-our-founding-father-feel? dept

Witty Nickname writes "In Portland, Oregon a man named Sam Adams is running for mayor, and has a website called mayorsamadams.com. In Boston the brewers of Sam Adam's beer sent a letter to the people who registered the site telling them to knock it off, because they have been using the trademark 'Sam Adams' since 1984. The candidate fought back saying that he had been using the name all of his life. Once the brewer realized that it was not a joke they said they are willing to discuss his use of the domain throughout the campaign. How generous of them." As of the time of this writing, the website itself says: "We are sorry. Due to pending legal action these pages are now unavailable." The company behind Samuel Adams Beer, the Boston Beer Company, is apparently now saying that the real problem it had with the use of the name was that it was registered by employees of a radio station, and even though it was for the real candidate Sam Adams, it was being used by the radio station for commercial reasons. Of course, that's a pretty weak response, because it seems pretty likely that the trademark on Sam Adams is related directly to beer and other merchandise -- and not to random political websites. Also, it seems doubtful that the radio hosts were using the beer connection as part of their promotion of the candidate. In other words, it's difficult to see how this passes the moron in a hurry test.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Oct 29th, 2007 @ 9:34am

    Also...

    I haven't seen the beer company run for mayor, or even have an ad campaign about a mayor. My new site is mayortechdirt.com. What if his name was Sam Adamson? Would they still have a beef with him? Plus, it's Samuel Adams Beer. It is really ridiculous.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 9:45am

    see http://www.nissan.com for corollary

     

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    TheDock22, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 9:52am

    Hmm...

    This does seem as if Sam Adams (the beer company) jumped the gun on this one. They can't argue trademark if it is someones name after all since the website was used for political purposes.

    Doesn't trademark only apply if say, this Sam Adams (the person)decides to start producing alcoholic drinks or something like that? Beside, if you choose a name like Sam Adams to try and help sell your crummy beer, they should expect some real Sam Adams (people) out there to maybe want a domain name themselves.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 10:08am

    Oregon. Portland, Oregon.

     

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    Danny, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 10:15am

    I'm not surprised...

    As long as the candidate for mayor wasn't trying to claim a relation to the beer company (like saying the beer company was sponsoring him or claiming he was related to the ones that started the beer company) there should be no problem.

    Next up:
    Guiness Beer vs. The Guiness Book of World Records:The Trademark Showdown!!

    McDonald's lawsuit: "How dare the Scotish use the name McDonald for hundreds of years without paying us the proper license fees!"

    Wendy's battles for its name sake: "So what if the name Wendy dates back several centuries!"

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 10:46am

      Re: I'm not surprised...

      Next up:

      Guiness Beer vs. The Guiness Book of World Records:The Trademark Showdown!!

      Sorry, no conflict there. The 'Guinness' name in both refers to the same company (2 'N's by the way). The Guinness World Records book was created by the Guinness Brewery and distributed free to pubs as a promotion in 1955.

       

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      the brit, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 10:53am

      Re: I'm not surprised...

      >Next up:
      >Guiness Beer vs. The Guiness Book of World Records:The Trademark Showdown!!

      Hardly - which company do you think created the Guiness Book of World Records in the first place...?

       

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      Kohiisan, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 11:38am

      Re: I'm not surprised...

      Wendy is not really CENTURIES old either. It came to fmae after Peter Pan.

      http://www.wendy.com/wendyweb/history.html

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 9:50pm

        Re: Re: I'm not surprised...

        Wendy is not really CENTURIES old either. It came to fmae [sic] after Peter Pan.
        I hate to tell you this, but a century is 100 years. The website you cited states that "in 1797 a boy named Wendy was apprenticed to some one in Glos." Now that's over 200 years ago. In other words, over two centuries ago. Documented. While Peter Pan may have made the name famous, it most certainly is "centuries old."

         

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      Danny, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 11:50am

      Re: I'm not surprised...

      Oh well one out of three it is...

       

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    Cmdr Oberon, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 10:16am

    Par for the course for Sam Adams

    Sam Adams is a litigous company, and that goes back to at least the early 90's. The Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams) sued another company, The Boston Brewing Company, for using 'Boston' in their name.

    Back at that time, there was a movement amongst homebrewers to boycott Sam Adams products.

     

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      Wolfger, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 10:46am

      Re: Par for the course for Sam Adams

      Boston Beer Company vs. Boston Brewing Company is a sane court case. "Sam Adams beer" vs. Sam Adams the mayoral candidate is moronic. Trademarks are not a universal license to prevent anybody, anywhere, from using a name for any purpose. As long as Mayor Sam Adams doesn't make, sell, or endorse any alcohol, the trademark case is null, and any lawyer pursuing it should be penalized under the all-too-infrequently-used laws against frivolous lawsuits.

       

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    xxx, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 10:34am

    Next up:
    Guiness Beer vs. The Guiness Book of World Records:The Trademark Showdown!!


    Dude, two seconds on the web was all it would have taken
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinness_book_of_records

     

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    BoSox, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 11:11am

    I would just love to see a Boston Red Sox player named Sam Adams.
    Have him do his own web site. And then watch the uproar as
    the beer company goes after the home team...

     

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    anon, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 11:31am

    Samuel Adams (found of the sam adams brewery) was more successful as a politician, than he was as a brewer. He was a very active rebel, a member of the first continental congress, and a governor of Massachusets.

    Do you really want to have people accidentally voting for a mayor in Oregon when they thought they were voting for the real Samuel Adams, one of the original Founding Fathers of America. Afterall, ghosts have been voting for centuries, heck, one was even won the election for senator in Missouri, why wouldn't a "Moron in a Hurry" believe that one was running for Mayor in Portland.

    Trademark laws are in place to prevent exactly this type of confusion.

     

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    sam adams, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 11:43am

    counter suit

    I would have sent them back letter with my birth certificate (assuming the mayoral candidate was born before 1984) stating that they stop using my name for their silly little beer company that I've never heard claiming that calling the beer Sam Adams is a shameless way of attracting customers by confusing them with a mayoral candidate. They should also send me some free samples so that I could see if their product is any good.

     

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    Vincent Clement, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 11:51am

    Why can't companies figure out to use situations like this to their advantage? They could have started a campaign that Sam Adams is so popular that he is running for mayor.

    Companies must stop lawyers from making pivotal business decisions.

     

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    One Eyed Jack, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 11:54am

    Samples

    No need for samples, the beer is awful.

     

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    One Eyed Jack, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 11:54am

    Samples

    No need for samples, the beer is awful.

     

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      Starfleet Command, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 1:52pm

      Re: Samples

      No need for samples, the beer is awful.

      Let me guess..you are a Bud fan...or maybe Michelob. Real Uh-Murican Beer

       

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    xxx, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 12:08pm

    Why can't companies figure out to use situations like this to their advantage?

    Maybe thats exactly what they are doing ... we're all talking about Sam Adams beer aren't we.

     

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      John, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 4:04am

      Re:

      Because all it takes is for the candidate to have a stupid opinion on one issue to alienate half the Sam Adams beer drinkers...getting involved in politics is a bad idea business wise (sounds good in theory, but he'd have to be a really good candidate with a 90% approval rating and crummy competition). In any case, I think the beer company is out of line here, and I plan on never drinking Sam Adams ever again. I'm starting to prefer Sierra Nevada these days, much better beer! John http://www.gigatribe.com

       

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    Kilroy, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 12:57pm

    Sam Adams is Great!

    To hell with all you naysayers! Sam Adam's is one of only a few *major* domestics I like.

    As for this whole trademark situation, well, they jumped the gun and goofed up. Once they found out their mistake they backed down.

    Move on, nothing to see here.

     

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    freakengine, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 1:09pm

    So what happens if I name my child after a product or a copyrighted character? Will my little Darth Vader Jones find that he's been banned from using his name later in life??? Perhaps people should have to have infant names cleared prior to approval.

     

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      BTR1701, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 8:30am

      Re: Names

      > Perhaps people should have to have infant
      > names cleared prior to approval.

      In some countries people do. Germany is one, I believe. The government won't legally let you name your kid certain names depending on whether the government thinks too many people are using that name or if the name has negative connotations (like Adolf, for example).

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 1:37pm

    sam adams beer and founder jim kooch have been known to have "shady" business practices.

    in the one commercial he said he won first place overall in his first beer competition, what he neglects to mention is that he bought over half the tickets and gave to friends and told them to vote for him.....

    however, his beer is good. well better than the watered down flavorless stuff that is bud/coors/miller.

     

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  •  

    So what's the legality?

    Is it legal to use his name in a website that is the same name of a company? I can't seem to find it now but this situation has come up in the past and I can't remember the outcome. Anybody out there know the legal answer?

     

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      identicon
      Variable, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 10:09pm

      Re: So what's the legality?

      Check US Code Title15, Chapter22, Subchapter III, ss1125,(d)(1)(B)(i)(IV).

      and then do a google for farmers sucks (Farmers insurance) you will find lots of info on the "legal" pages... Sam Adams (beer, or cow piss, I am not sure) is on the wrong side of the law this time and their letter from the lawyers is full of shit

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 2:10am

        Re: Re: So what's the legality?

        Sam Adams (beer, or cow piss, I am not sure) is on the wrong side of the law this time and their letter from the lawyers is full of shit
        Yeah, but which is cheaper: proving it in court or giving in? It's not about right or wrong any more.

         

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    identicon
    Overcast, Oct 31st, 2007 @ 6:30am

    Yep, a good move by a company who tries to portray themselves as a 'Good American Company'.

    I can see they are friendly indeed.

    If anyone's 'pirating' the use of a name - they are.

    Perhaps the descendants of the real Sam Adams should sue them silly.

     

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    Samuel Adams, Jul 30th, 2008 @ 4:05am

    Let's see how they like my website

    www.samueladamsblog.com

    I was named Samuel Adams before the beer existed, and I am in fact a decendent of the real Sam Adams. I don't recall James Koch asking my permision to use my name to sell his beer.

     

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    Nina, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:38am

    Sam Adams

    Naming a beer after the historic Sam Adams sounds just like something a bunch of younger men would do because they thought that the name would be "cool". I can just see them rallying around this old fashioned sounding name thinking themselves so clever--and not having the slightest idea of who the real Sam Adams was. People who legally are named Sam Adams have the right to use their name without answering to anybody-if anything, Mr. Adams should sue them!

     

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