25 September 2019TrademarksRory O'Neill

UK brewer drops ‘Good Call’ brand after Heineken pressure

A Manchester-based brewery is rebranding its alcohol-free soda after what it calls “heavy handed tactics” from Heineken, which said the “Good Call” brand infringed a marketing slogan it had used in the past.

In a blog post from Sunday, September 22,  Cloudwater Brew Company said that it had received correspondence from DLA Piper on behalf of Heineken, demanding that it drop the name of its “Good Call” alcohol-free soda.

According to Cloudwater, Heineken cited its earlier trademark for “Good Call”, which covers beer and alcoholic drinks in classes 33 and 34.

The company has since filed to extend the mark’s coverage to non-alcoholic drinks.

Heineken has used the “Good Call” slogan in marketing campaigns for its “Foster’s” brand.

In the statement, Cloudwater founder Paul Jones said that the company’s “intention is not to cause confusion in the market at all, nor occupy space that [Heineken] may wish to occupy in the future”.

Yet despite rejecting any wrongdoing, Cloudwater says it does not have the resources to fight a protracted legal battle.

Jones said the company had already incurred a bill of “thousands of pounds”, and was being “pushed to sign legal documents that leave us vulnerable to further fees, costs, and rather excessive obligations”.

“It is obvious that fighting through a tribunal would be a costly distraction from the many projects we have ongoing at the brewery,” Jones said.

The Manchester brewer said it was seeking an agreement with Heineken that would allow it to sell already distributed stock, rather than having to re-label the sodas.

According to the blog post, the soda will now simply be known as Cloudwater Soda.

WIPR has contacted Heineken and DLA Piper for comment.

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