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News Cerveceria Costa Rica (Magic Hat) Suing West Sixth Brewing

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Nutwood, May 21, 2013.

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  1. sefus12

    sefus12 Aspirant (220) Sep 7, 2006 Kentucky

    I can see how they are somewhat similar, but the whole circle vs. oval thing (yes, i know the bottle logo is likely a circle as well, but appears to be an oval on the bottle) as well as the very large "West Sixth Brewing" and "IPA" makes me wonder how legit this actually is. And if the only thing actually trademarked is the "#9", then I question how it could go through (though I'm certainly no lawyer). Regardless, I hate that it's happening. West Sixth is making great stuff and I don't want anything to suffer or their plans to be thwarted by some wanna-be craft brewery trying to play corporate tough guy.
  2. GRBrew

    GRBrew Initiate (130) Jan 12, 2009 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I read this earlier and was actually going to contact them since I am a craft beer lawyer but now that it hit beerpulse their website has been crushed. I guess I will try again later.
    AwesomeSquad, Zach136 and stooge like this.
  3. WassailWilly

    WassailWilly Initiate (0) Sep 8, 2007 New York

    I went one better I have refused to buy Magic Hat for many years now !!
  4. kingcrowing

    kingcrowing Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2009 Vermont
    Beer Trader

    I think Magic Hat has a very solid case here. The similarities are striking and #9 has been around much longer and is a national brand. I think they should have just sent a cease & desist letter though.
  5. thecheapies

    thecheapies Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Petition signed. Boycott begun.

    Easiest boycott ever, by the way...
  6. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Defender (602) Feb 6, 2013 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Magic Hat #9 sucks.
  7. cetherid

    cetherid Devotee (411) Aug 23, 2010 Indiana
    Beer Trader

  8. FiddlersBrew

    FiddlersBrew Initiate (0) Oct 6, 2011 New Jersey

    West Sixth could've been a bit more original if you ask me.
    cbeer88, nanobrew, Kinsman and 4 others like this.
  9. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky


    You want to explain what these striking similarities are? I tried in a post above, but all I got was a huge amount of differences. And I stand behind the math being the most important aspect. :slight_smile:
  10. KS1297

    KS1297 Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2013 Wisconsin

    they are similar but neither are original ideas. Magic Hat was the first company to ever think of putting a number in a circle? come on.
    Jake_Ramrod and Converge like this.
  11. lvldweller

    lvldweller Initiate (167) Apr 3, 2013 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    ok i guess someone deleted the picture i posted on this thread for some reason...but someone posted/pointed out on fb that one of magic hat's designs is strikingly similar to a circular mountain dew logo.... hypocrisy is awesome
    Zach136 likes this.
  12. FiddlersBrew

    FiddlersBrew Initiate (0) Oct 6, 2011 New Jersey

    Honestly, the West Sixth logo is #9 flipped over, in different colors, with the star removed and placed elsewhere. The similarities are, indeed, striking. The font is ideally the same, with the only differences being extremely slight. No, 6 does not equal 9, but had Magic Hat come out with a #6 beer I could imagine it looking exactly like West Sixth's IPA.
  13. cigarchitect

    cigarchitect Initiate (0) May 12, 2010 Massachusetts

    I love the comments on Magic Hat's FB page. Get em!
  14. Groomsy

    Groomsy Initiate (0) Sep 23, 2010 Kentucky

    Petition signed. Don't mess with Kentucky, son.
    yesyouam likes this.
  15. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    The Font is radically different.

    The backgrounds are really, really radically different. All sixes look like nines upside down.

    The star is similar, but still different (not radically).

    And most importantly to me, the math is different. A six and nine are at least 33% different. Admittedly, they are closer to each other than either is to 312.
  16. Nutwood

    Nutwood Aspirant (232) Jun 30, 2012 Kentucky

    This whole thing puts me in mind of the old movie "Next of Kin". Have you seen that one, Magic Hatters?
  17. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,469) Aug 29, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I'm no big-city lawyer, but I did have to take classes about copyright infringement and intellectual property in my time in undergrad, so I feel that I have a bit of casual knowledge on the subject.

    My layperson's opinion is that if West Sixth had the resources to fight this, they would win. It seems to me like Magic Hat is banking on the fact that West Sixth *doesn't* have said resources, because there is no way in hell the West Sixth logo meets the basic standard for this kind of trademark infringement case (Likelihood of Confusion).

    There are so many things that are different about these two logos and brands that the similarities (presence of an 8-pointed star and the similar-looking number font) are almost negligible. Complete opposite ends of the color spectrum, the fact that they are trying to conflate a "6" with a "9". The fact that the #9 logo has almost no text and a distinct texture around the "9". One other thing worth noting: the lawsuit is suing based on the fact that the West Sixth *company* logo resembles an individual *beer* brand logo. I think that may also factor in when it comes to the whole standard of customer confusion.

    The other outcome I could see happening--if West Sixth were to fight it--is the judge ruling that they did not violate Magic Hat's trademark, but that they need to eliminate the star or change the font of the '6' to avoid any potential confusion in customers.

    The thing that's so fucked up about this is that I didn't even know that #9 had an 8-pointed star in the logo UNTIL this thread.

    Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with West Sixth and have never had a single taste of any of their beers.
    yesyouam and Jake_Ramrod like this.
  18. YogiBeer

    YogiBeer Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Illinois

    Yikes. Someone is losing their job.
  19. Stinger80OH

    Stinger80OH Crusader (733) Nov 11, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Why did you flip the West Sixth logo? A pound sign and 9 is just that and a 6 with a star is just that. West Sixth will prevail here.
  20. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    If you don't like it, flip your monitor over.
  21. Stinger80OH

    Stinger80OH Crusader (733) Nov 11, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I'll do that!! Thanks for the constructive feedback. :flushed:
    Roguer likes this.
  22. ShogoKawada

    ShogoKawada Meyvn (1,247) May 31, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I mean, magic hat is totally in the right on this one .
    SunDevilBeer likes this.
  23. antzman

    antzman Aspirant (208) Feb 14, 2005 Indiana

    Magic Hat did a similar thing to Barley Island from Indiana several years back too.... Barley Island brewed a coffee stout with coffee from a local roastery called Black Majic Java Stout http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1445/33384. Apparently, Magic Hat had a beer of a similar name and sent a cease and desist letter to Barley Island. Barley did not have the means to fight it, and changed the name of the beer rather than go through any lengthy battle. This was before Magic Hat was bought out by this new group, so apparently, they've gotten more litigious.
  24. dmfc906

    dmfc906 Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2010 Illinois

    asked a lawyer friend about it, he replied:

    "Confusion can be part of an infringement claim...Can even use 'is this similar' or 'would you think these products are related' as tests to determine infringement"

    I think it's a pretty thin claim, but it's not baseless...I could see how a consumer without great knowledge of the beer industry might assume they were similar or related products. Should be a tough sell for MH though.
  25. HevvyMetalHippie

    HevvyMetalHippie Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Will people be boycotting the other companies that Cerveceria owns? None of them look that thrilling to begin with anyway
  26. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,469) Aug 29, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    From what I know about the "confusion" aspect of an infringement claim, the end-consumer matters as well. In other words, Magic Hat can't just presume that the people who would likely be buying their beer are ignorant BMC drinkers who wouldn't know a Magic Hat from Cat In The Hat. There is a reasonable assumption that the consumers who are buying Magic Hat and West Sixth beers are so-called informed consumers, and that the label similarity would have to be awfully striking to cause confusion. Given the stark difference in the color palettes alone, I think that's a hard case to make.

    Of course, the issue is whether or not West Sixth has the resources to prove their case.
  27. Retail1LO

    Retail1LO Initiate (0) May 4, 2011 Pennsylvania

  28. BierCellar

    BierCellar Initiate (128) Apr 5, 2012 Maine

    I can say we no longer carry Magic Hat in our store. F**k bullies and fake craft.
  29. Tballz420

    Tballz420 Meyvn (1,187) Mar 4, 2003 Minnesota

    Any attorney in Kentucky who can handle an infringement case would definitely get a whole lot of beer karma for taking their case pro-bono
    AwesomeSquad, Shagator and Roguer like this.
  30. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    The star is kind of damning.... damn!
    jamvt likes this.
  31. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    That said, I've seen pictures of West 6th cans before and never thought, "oh, that looks like #9" which is sold in literally every store within 200 miles of here (even the ones that don't sell beer.)
  32. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (2,725) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    I don't like #9. I don't think it's a particularly tasty beer. I hate bullies and corporate trolls. So, this is a no-brainer for me: no more Magic Hat.
  33. SirBottlecap

    SirBottlecap Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2013 California

    What would happen if six turned out to be nine? Al Hendrix should sue both!
  34. GonkDroid

    GonkDroid Initiate (0) Apr 30, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    They should be filing suit against MillerCoors soon for Batch 19 right? That 9 could confuse someone!
  35. fredmugs

    fredmugs Poo-Bah (1,528) Aug 11, 2012 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    I hope West Sixth does a collab beer with Three Floyds and a Death Metal band that writes a song shitting all over Magic Hat.
  36. Tballz420

    Tballz420 Meyvn (1,187) Mar 4, 2003 Minnesota

    Al Hendrix?
  37. Inchay

    Inchay Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2012 California

    I will. The hastiness to seek litigation is a huge turnoff for me. I almost feel sorry for Pyramid, they're considered one of the locals where I'm from.
  38. sefus12

    sefus12 Aspirant (220) Sep 7, 2006 Kentucky

    Or, if they HAVE to change their logo, make a new IPA called Fe-Fi-Fo-FUMH. I'll let the rest of you figure it out.
  39. Retail1LO

    Retail1LO Initiate (0) May 4, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Magic Hat-Bear Republic-Tyranena collaboration underway.

    Sue! Sue! Sue!

    Someone needs to name a beer Scurvy Racer #9. Then we can have a collaborative lawsuit.
  40. jdhowe

    jdhowe Disciple (368) Mar 18, 2013 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    Was unaware of Pyramid being mixed up in this. Attempts to figure out what brands are in Cerveceria Costa Rica's portfolio via Google were a dismal failure... does anyone have a complete list of brands or a source listing them?

    If Pyramid is actually owned by these guys, that does make me sad since I live within walking distance of their primary brewing site and will occasionally go there for food/beer. Plenty of other good food around, but it would still be a bit sad.
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