Beverage Company Sues Anheuser-Busch Over Totally Different Looking Can Design

from the that's-infringing?!? dept

Scott alerts us to the bizarre lawsuit filed by United Brands, makers of the "Dragon Joose" malt beverage, filed against Anheuser-Busch for its Tilt malt beverage, arguing that the new design of Tilt's cans represents trademark infringement, copyright infringement and unfair competition among other things. The company put out this statement:
"While we are flattered that Anheuser-Busch recognizes the considerable value of the Joose brand, it is disappointing that they have resorted to stealing our design," says Michael Michail, CEO and president of United Brands. "Their new Tilt product design intentionally infringes on our Dragon Joose Marks and is thereby benefiting from the brand equity of United Brands and its products."
Based on that, you'd have to think the two cans look pretty damn similar, right? Well, take a look:
I have to admit, that I'm at a loss. Okay, there's a (very different) dragon on each can, but the designs are totally different from one another. What, exactly, does United Brands think infringes on their copyright on the original design? I can't see anything that's copied. Same with the trademark. I can't see any likelihood of confusion here. I've seen some pretty bizarre trademark and copyright lawsuits, but I'm at a total loss as to what was infringed on here.

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    Andrew (profile), 19 Nov 2010 @ 12:57pm

    It's a similar style, I guess, but I hate to think how much of the work produced by the design industry would also be infringing if this lawsuit succeeds.

    Design follows trends: it's inspired by previous work and influences following work. It's not created in vacuo, and is much better, in terms of both aesthetics and usability, as a result. (None of this is news to anyone who reads Techdirt of course.)

    As a side note, I would have thought that Telegraph Media Group and DC Comics (Batman) would have much stronger claims against Anheuser-Busch...

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