21 June 2016Trademarks

Budweiser sued by Native American tribe over advert use

A Native American tribe has sued Budweiser for trademark infringement after the beer brand allegedly used its logo and slogan on in-store adverts.

In a lawsuit filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina claims that Budweiser has been using the slogan “Heritage, Pride & Strength” along with the tribe’s name and logo without permission.

All three are registered trademarks, according to the complaint.

The complaint, filed against Budweiser’s parent company Anheuser-Busch (AB) on June 14, accuses the company of “creating the false impression in the minds of the public that the Lumbee tribe has approved of defendants’ use of the marks and, by extension, of defendants’ alcoholic beverage products”.

RA Jeffreys Distributing Company, an AB distributor, has also been named in the complaint.

The tribe claims that its logo and slogan have been used above beer coolers in two stores in the towns of Lumberton and Raeford, North Carolina.

The allegedly infringing adverts are described as: “In-store advertisements that prominently display the Lumbee tribe marks in close connection with Anheuser-Busch’s ‘Budweiser’ and ‘Bud Light’ marks in an effort to promote the sale of defendants’ Budweiser and Bud Light-branded products.”

It adds that the marks are being used “in a way that many members of the tribe find offensive because alcohol abuse is often associated with Native American culture”.

The Lumbee tribe’s logo is a black circle divided into four different colours—yellow, red, black and white. The four parts of the circle represent the four qualities of a balanced life: spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual.

According to the complaint, the tribe has been recognised as an “American Indian” tribe by the State of North Carolina since 1885. It is seeking damages and attorneys’ fees.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at