22 April 2022TrademarksAlex Baldwin

Stone Brewing forced to cover infringing slogan

Stone Brewing has been ordered to stop using the slogan “Keep It Juicy” on its hazy IPA packaging following a trademark infringement complaint from rival brewer Sycamore.

The US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina granted, “with modification”, Sycamore’s request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop Stone Brewing from using the infringing slogan.

The order, handed down Thursday, April 21, says that Stone Brewing can continue to sell off its allegedly infringing supply, but asks the brewery to “ensure a label is applied as soon as possible” to cover the infringing slogan on its packaging.

The potential harm of continuing to sell boxes with the infringing slogan outweighs the harm Stone would incur by being ordered to change the packaging. The court said that Stone’s current packaging was likely to confuse customers.

Stone Brewing adopted the “Keep It Juicy” slogan on its packaging in March 2022.

During hearings, Stone told that court that it had “taken steps” to eliminate the use of the mark in connection with the Hazy IPA, claiming that it will have new retail packaging ready for May 5, 2022.

Because of the small window in which it will continue to sell the infringing packaging, the court said the potential harm a preliminary injunction would incur was “minimised”.

The order concludes: “The court finds the diligent and proactive measures defendant has taken, along with the relatively short time period that the infringing products will remain in the marketplace and the financial burden that defendant would incur in removing these products, supports narrowly tailoring the preliminary injunction so as to allow defendant to sell off its available supply of Hazy IPA packaged in the infringing retail box.”

Sycamore filed its complaint on April 6, alleging that Stone Brewing “stole” its registered “Keep It Juicy” trademark and used it for the “exact same purpose”.

It also lambasted Stone’s litigious history, claiming that the company “seeks to damage smaller breweries by filing questionable trademark actions against them and to steal the trademarks of those smaller breweries it believes will not fight back”.

Sycamore seeks treble damages for an amount to be determined at trial.

This lawsuit came shortly after Stone won its high-profile dispute against drinks giant Molson Coors over who was the first to use “stone” branding in connection with beer.

Stone convinced a California jury that Molson Coors had infringed its “stone” trademark when it rebranded its flagship “Keystone” beer to “Stone”—bringing an end to the four-year dispute.

Commenting on the Molson Coors verdict, Stone Brewing co-founder Greg Koch said: "This is a historic day for Stone Brewing, and for the craft beer industry. Molson Coors threatened our heritage, but we stood up to that threat. They will put the 'Key' back in 'Keystone' ending their hostile four-year co-op of the Stone name.”

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28 March 2022   A California jury has ruled in favour of Stone Brewing in its four-year trademark infringement dispute with Molson Coors over who was first to use “stone” branding in connection with beer.
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