USA: AB InBev sued by outdoor apparel company Patagonia

Anheuser Busch (AB), the U.S. subsidiary of AB InBev, has been sued by outdoor apparel company Patagonia for trademark infringement by copying the brand's name and aesthetic. “In launching its Patagonia beer, AB deliberately has attempted to take advantage of the tremendous goodwill that Patagonia, Inc. and Patagonia Provisions, Inc. have cultivated in their brand, and the hard-earned reputation that Patagonia, Inc. has built over the last 40 years as a company dedicated to environmental conservation. AB has gone as far as creating a logo that is strikingly similar to Patagonia’s famous mountain silhouette logo that has appeared continuously for decades on millions of products,” the California based clothing company set out in the lawsuit.

AB InBev "tried to connect its beer with environmental conservation by claiming to plant a tree for each case of beer sold, an initiative that Patagonia would welcome but for the fact that AB is clearly attempting to copy Patagonia's famous brand identity to confuse consumers," it said in the indictment.

Because AB deliberately took advantage of the brands reputation, Patagonia asks the court to cancel AB’s Patagonia trademark and award them all the profits of the new beer.

AB InBev was granted the Patagonia beer trademark in the U.S. in 2012, but did not use it until 2018, when the product was launched by Patagonia Brewing Company, Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina, belonging to Cervecería y Maltería Quilmes, AB InBev’s subsidiary in Argentina.

Five years before right on time for the company’s 40th anniversary in 2013, the outdoor apparel company linked up with New Belgium Brewing and launched its own beer, a special organic lager named California Route after the California Route on Patagonia’s Mount Fitz Roy. Since 2016 Patagonia has teamed up with Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland, Oregon for the production of another beer, called Long Root pale ale.

Patagonia, based in Ventura, California was founded as Chouinard Equipment by American rock climber and environmentalist Yvon Chouinard in 1973. The company was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1989 when it lost a series of lawsuits claiming "failure to inform" of safety issues related to usage of climbing hardware. The company was split off in a climbing gear division called Black Diamond Equipment and the profitable clothing division which had already been rebranded as Patagonia and was retained by the founder. Since then, Patagonia has expanded its product line to include apparel targeted towards other sports, such as surfing. In addition to clothing, the offering includes other products such as backpacks, sleeping bags, and camping food.

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