from the how-productive dept
Beer: it seems to cause all kinds of trademark problems. I'm actually not sure why that is. Beer makes me happy, not litigious. But for some reason, it also tends to make breweries go after other breweries, educational institutions go crazy on breweries, and even occassionaly causes all the Schlaflys in existence to fight against one another. And now, it appears to have claimed the great city of Portland, Oregon as the latest victim of its trademark-dispute-inducing properties.
Well, to be fair, the dispute part actually appears to be coming to an end. The problem is that it never should have started at all. You see, Portland, a city, initially sent a cease and desist letter to Pabst Brewing Co., makers of the skinny-jeans-flavored beer, all over an advertisement for a music festival the brewery was putting on in the area.
The city had alleged the brewery used "a confusingly similar version" of the Rose City's trademarked "Portland Oregon" sign, which sits on the roof of the White Stag building in Old Town-Chinatown, to promote the beer giant's inaugural Project Pabst music festival. On Wednesday, the City Council was expected to sign off on legal action against the company to recoup unspecified damages for the "unauthorized use of the trademark."And here are the signs in question:
So, first off, they're obviously similar. So similar that moronic visitors or residents of the city of Portland will somehow think that Pabst bought their town, or vice versa? Probably not. Why? Well, because, you see, one is a god damned city and the other is a brewery. I'm frankly not entirely certain how the city's trademark was granted in the first place, since I'm not clear on how having a sign announcing what city the person reading it is in denotes any kind of commercial application. It may be that the city had planned on using images of the sign on shirts and clothing and the like, but even if that's the case, it wouldn't conflict with Pabst putting on a concert. Pabst and the city of Portland aren't competing with one another in any kind of marketplace, so the whole dispute was fallacious to begin with.
Fortunately, it appears somebody clued the city in on all this.
But Dana Haynes, Hales' spokesman, said both parties are now trying to reach an accord. "The attorneys from both sides have been communicating, and they felt they were in close proximity to an amicable solution," Haynes said. They haven't reached a solution, but avoiding a costly lawsuit "would be the better solution by far," Haynes said.No kidding. All the more so since Portland would lose that costly lawsuit on the grounds that they're a city and shut up. Even so, it appears Pabst, who started all of this by trying to put on a freaking concert in the city, is playing peacemaker. They've altered the logo slightly on their websites. Too bad, because they didn't have to. It's nice to see a trademark dispute end outside the courthouse rather than within, but it'd be even nicer if this nonsense hadn't started to begin with.