Logo Litigation – MillerCoors Sues South Korean Brewery

Brewing giant MillerCoors has filed a suit against South Korean brewery HiteJinro over its attempt to register a logo for its Hite lager as a trademark in the US. They think it’s too similar to their to their Miller Lite logo.

Here’s the deal…

MillerCoors, the second largest brewer in the US, has turned to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, accusing the South Korean brewery of copying the logo to its most popular beer.

According to the Korean Times, South Korea’s HiteJinro has already spent considerable sums of money hiring attorneys to get their logo registered in the first place.

And now the South Korean brewery is facing the prospect of paying substantial damages to the US should the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) not rule in its favor.

The South Korean brewer first filed its intent to use the logo on February 14th, 2017 and was about to register it as a US trademark according to the Drinks Business.

But on May 9th, the day on which the USPTO was set to approve the application, MillerCoors filed its suit stating that: “The word Hite in the logo is stylized in a Germanic font that is nearly identical to that of MillerCoors’ Lite.”

This from MillerCoors…

 “Consumers familiar with the MillerCoors’ Lite stylized logo, who encounter the applicant’s Hite stylized logo are likely to be confused or deceived as to the source of the applicant’s goods and are likely to mistakenly believe that the applicant’s use of the Hite stylized logo is authorized by or affiliated with MillerCoors, all to the detriment of MillerCoors, the trade, and the public”.

That’s a lot of the use of the word ‘stylized’ but you get the point…

And already in litigation mode, MillerCoors also claimed that the previous HiteJinro packaging shared similarities with Miller Lite’s designs…so there’s that as well.

HiteJinro is denying the accusations, claiming that MillerCoors’ opposition is nothing more than attempt to prevent it from gaining traction in the US.

But this is not MillerCoors’ only legal battle…

Last February, Stone Brewing filed suit against MillerCoors following their rebrand of MillerCoors’ Keystone beer which emphasized the word Stone…

MillerCoors was quick to call that lawsuit a “publicity stunt” adding that Keystone beer is regularly referred to as ‘Stone’ by customers and that in its lawsuit and accompanying video and graphics, Stone used “misleading images” that are “not a true image of the can”.

 

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