Sycamore lawsuit: Judge rules California-based Stone Brewing must stop selling certain beer cans

  • In Business
  • 2022-04-21 20:19:06Z
  • By WSOC

A judge ruled that California-based Stone Brewing will have to stop selling certain beer cans, as Sycamore Brewing sues for trademark infringement, according to court documents.

Channel 9 learned Thursday that a judge issued a preliminary injunction in Charlotte-based Sycamore Brewing's favor

Stone Brewing is accused of using "Keep it Juicy," a trademark which Sycamore said it owns.

[ALSO READ: Local brewery among new food, drinking spots to join lineup at Charlotte airport]

According to court documents, Stone must immediately stop producing the label. Stone is allowed to sell any boxes that are in stores, but they must cover any "Keep it Juicy" labels.

Stone is "immediately enjoined nationwide from using the KEEP IT JUICY name and mark, or confusingly similar variations thereof," court documents said.

The suit also said Sycamore Brewing must post a $50,000 bond to cover costs should it turn out the injection wasn't justified.

According to the lawsuit, Sycamore said the slogan was first used in September 2020 and was a registered mark the following year. According to the lawsuit, the slogan is prominently displayed on retail packaging boxes.

"Based upon its federal trademark registration and extensive use, Sycamore owns the exclusive right to use the 'Keep it Juicy' trademark in connection with beer and craft beer services," the suit said.

California-based Stone Brewing adopted the "Keep it Juicy" mark and used it on its packaging and advertisements for its Hazy IPA, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims Stone Brewing was trying to confuse customers looking for Sycamore beer.

Sycamore Brewing sues Stone Brewing (CREDIT: Court documents)
Sycamore Brewing sues Stone Brewing (CREDIT: Court documents)  

"Stone is using Sycamore's exact mark on the same packaging to market and sell the same type of beer," the lawsuit said.

According to the suit, Stone Brewing also used "Keep it Juicy" in the Hazy IPA page on its website and in a video advertising for Hazy IPA.

Sycamore Brewing sues Stone Brewing (CREDIT: Court documents)
Sycamore Brewing sues Stone Brewing (CREDIT: Court documents)  

Sycamore is headquartered in Charlotte, but distributes its beers in seven other states, including South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia and Kentucky. Stone Brewing also has a production brewery in Virginia, but distributes to all 50 states.

"Stone's expansion into Virginia enabled it to be one of the very few craft breweries that distributes and sells its beer in all 50 states, including North Carolina. In 2017, it announced its expansion into West Virginia, which was the only state where its beers were not distributed at the time," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that with Stone Brewing's expansion, it is now a direct competitor with Sycamore Brewing.

"Stone is properly described as a 'Trademark Bully.' Given its aggressive use of its millions to bully smaller companies into ceasing use of common terms even when they are in non-competing industries or there is no possible likelihood of confusion," the lawsuit said.

According to the suit, Stone Brewing received criticism in 2020 after it was reported that it filed more than 100 trademark cancellation requests with the United States Patent and Trademark Office from across the beer, wine, and spirits markets.

According to the lawsuit, Sycamore said it is asking to prohibit the use of the trademark and an award for any damages caused.

Sycamore Brewing is asking for a jury trial regarding all the issues, according to court documents.

Channel 9 has reached out to Sycamore Brewing for comment on the lawsuit but has not heard back at this point.

Statement from Stone Brewing CEO regarding the preliminary injunction:

"We are disappointed by and do not agree with the Court's order regarding Stone's use of 'Keep It Juicy' on its Stone Hazy IPA packaging. Nevertheless, we had already begun efforts to address and resolve this issue and we will continue those efforts. Stone respects and understands the importance of trademark rights. As such, we are deeply disappointed that this has gotten to where it is. We have no interest in unnecessary disputes with other members of the craft beer community and would have happily worked with Sycamore to resolve this amicably had we been given the opportunity."

(Watch the video below: Waffle House collaborates with brewery to come up with 'Bacon & Kegs')


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