Golden Road Brewing threatens Omaha upstart brewery with lawsuit

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by iasanlee, Nov 8, 2013.

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  1. iasanlee

    iasanlee Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2007 Nebraska

    Note: Goldenrod has been the state flower of Nebraska since 1895.

    From Goldenrod Brewing CO. Facebook page-

    "To all of our friends out there, Goldenrod Brewing Company will be changing our name soon. The Golden Road Brewery in L.A. has decided the name "Goldenrod", based on our Nebraska state flower, is too similar to the name Golden Road and has requested that we cease use of the name. Litigation to keep the Goldenrod name would not be in our best financial interest as a small start up business, so we have decided to move on. We will keep you all posted as we get close to picking a new name and hope to continue on our current schedule and open early next year. We thank all of you for your support so far and apparently all of you with Goldenrod shirts now have a collector's item."

    From Nebraska Beer Blog

    "Goldenrod Brewing Company, a brewpub to open in Omaha in 2014, has been asked, via cease and desist, to change their name by Golden Road Brewing Company in California because they feel the Goldenrod name is similar enough to theirs to cause confusion in the marketplace.

    Initially this surprised the gang at Goldenrod, but they looked into it and they did see some similarities to their old logo and the Golden Road Brewing logo so they decided to give them a call and see if changing the logo would work. They received no response initially to that request. In the spirit of craft beer camaraderie, the Goldenrod crew was ready to work with Golden Road and come up with a workable solution and yet they have been met with silence. We often hear how great this community is and have even seen cases where brewers with similar beer names come together and work up a collaboration beer instead of a lawsuit. Apparently that kind of compromise and friendly attitude that we've come to expect from the people in the craft beer world was not acceptable to Golden Road and they have chosen to bully a start up brewery, half the country away, into changing their name.

    When is there going to be confusion in this marketplace for either of these beers? I understand that craft beer is exploding and we may see the day that Golden Road is in Nebraska on the shelf, but come on, yours is a two word name for a brewery in California and Goldenrod is the state flower of Nebraska.

    I understand you have to protect your brand, but this seems a bit extreme. Why not first simply call the folks at Goldenrod and talk with them about your concerns? Isn't it possible that a conversation could have ended this thing quickly and amicably? If, after a conversation, they felt that legal action was still necessary, then so be it, but bringing the threat of legal action against a brand new, not yet open brewery with little financial ability to stand up for themselves is mean-spirited and cold. It certainly does not endear Golden Road to us Nebraskans and those who hear and read about this.

    Bottom-line, Goldenrod gang, we got your back and so does the state of Nebraska. Whatever name you settle on, we have faith in you and the product you will produce. This is a small hurdle in the big picture and most of us know what you can do, and will do, and the name, in the end, doesn't matter. The silver lining is that it happened now and not later.

  2. mrcraft

    mrcraft Poo-Bah (2,067) Dec 15, 2012 California
    Society Trader

    More comments from locals on this thread -

    As someone that lives in Los Angeles, I'm ashamed they not only issued a C&D, but would not even entertain a conversation with the brewery to see if some compromise could be reached.

    Golden Road is a joke around here. They are getting better but most of their line up is mediocre at best, and for a brewery of such standing to take this stance is ridiculous. I think as more locals find out about this, the more they will alienate their current client base.

    I wish the Nebraska brewery the best.
  3. Christopper

    Christopper Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2012 New York

    this is poppycock!
    devlishdamsel likes this.
  4. FosterJM

    FosterJM Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2009 California

    I see what you did there. Touche.

    jj139 and teamizm like this.
  5. JDM44

    JDM44 Initiate (0) Mar 11, 2013 Texas

    Wow that's really lame. I won't be supporting Golden Road anymore.
  6. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Aspirant (299) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    So Golden Road is claiming all uses of the word Golden?

    This is what happens when you let these things get out of control. Both this case and the Vampire Slayer one could be won and set a precedent but its too expensive to fight.
  7. rather

    rather Initiate (0) May 31, 2013 California

    wow I like golden road but dick move.

    they are similar names but I guess golden road thinks consumers are stupid?
    Uncleserg, mellowmark and LAviaSD like this.
  8. BeerBob

    BeerBob Initiate (0) May 30, 2002 Nebraska

    After doing some "DD" (Due Diligence), the logos look to the casual observer to be doppelgangers.

    It would not take a lot of debate, based on comparing of the different logos, that the logos, and names, really are not that different after all.

    Can you imagine one doppelganger suing the other to cease and desist?
    #8 BeerBob, Nov 8, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
    gregmoscetti and charlzm like this.
  9. Henamonster

    Henamonster Initiate (51) Feb 2, 2007 California

  10. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2013 Minnesota

    I'm really getting tired of this type of shit.
    VonZipper, djl9701, Zorro and 19 others like this.
  11. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but those logos look a lot alike, and then there's the fact when said aloud, the names sound very similar.

    Good thing Golden Road caught this months before Goldenrod opened up shop!
  12. rather

    rather Initiate (0) May 31, 2013 California

    ok if it was just the name I'd stay with my first post but the logos and the name together make it to similar
  13. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Aspirant (299) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    I still dont think so. The only similarity in the logos is the arch in the name. 50% of the universe uses round logos, so Im not counting that. A palm tree is not similar to a windmill. Its one vs a group too.

    And the arching name is pretty common. If Golden Road said "change the logo to remove the arcing name" I could see it. But the name is fine and the windmill is fine. And the goldenrod flowers are fine.
  14. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Aspirant (299) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    I assume someone is going to call me a Omaha-homer soon on this thread. :sunglasses:
    bamarado likes this.
  15. Henamonster

    Henamonster Initiate (51) Feb 2, 2007 California

    Ultimately, as far as this thread goes I think the logo is a moot point as both breweries acknowledged they were too similar, so there's validity in the claim. However, stuff like this makes you wish neither party would need to take the lawyer route (which the Goldenrod people never say happened, but is instead alleged by the blogger above.) Hopefully it truly wasn't a case of bullying, but the natural course of events involving two breweries trying to be unique in their own ways.
    charlzm likes this.
  16. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Aspirant (299) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Im not sure Goldenrod acknowledged they were too similar. They said it was too expensive to litigate it as a startup. Which is true. Sounds to me like they would have been willing to litigate it if money wasnt an issue.
  17. bozodogbreath

    bozodogbreath Disciple (366) Oct 19, 2006 Indiana

    I will drink warm puddle water before I ever drink anything from Golden Road. They could age unicorn tears in PVW barrels and I will say, "No, Thanks."
  18. getinked

    getinked Initiate (0) Feb 21, 2012 Ukraine

    charlzm likes this.
  19. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Initiate (0) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    Mhm... definitely read that as "Obama" the first time.
    swolepeer, Omnium and BeerKangaroo like this.
  20. williamjbauer

    williamjbauer Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2012 Colorado

    I propose someone start compiling a black list of breweries that sling litigation without reasonable efforts to work with other owners outside the courts.
    Zorro, bamarado, Horbar and 5 others like this.
  21. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (455) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    Sorry, I have to disagree. Each individual element may be different, but taken as a whole, it is pretty close to a quick glance.
    There are changes that could be made to make it different enough - like changing the round logo to square, with the name in block letters over the top, and say, a field and flower theme - bu it still doesn't address the similarity in the name - and yes, I also agree that spelled out it is different, but when pronounced, it could be mistaken.
    I don't blame Golden Road for the for C&D, but they could have been more receptive to overtures from GoldenRod. (the silence could have been due to instructions from their lawyer, in which case they should have referred GoldenRod to him/her)
    Roguer, charlzm and Henamonster like this.
  22. BrettHead

    BrettHead Initiate (0) Sep 18, 2010 Nebraska

    Goldenrod will be fine (making some great beers already) but I still don't like it.. :angry:
    cran852 and charlzm like this.
  23. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Savant (951) Sep 4, 2010 California

    I as well wish the Nebraska brewery the best. But damn dude you don't think the names are too close? A company must protect it's brand and trade marks and I hope anyone who is business savvy would have seen this as a threat. Put your personal feelings aside and be realistic.
    Popp24, ThirstyHerf, jkblodge and 4 others like this.
  24. mrcraft

    mrcraft Poo-Bah (2,067) Dec 15, 2012 California
    Society Trader

    From a layman's perspective perhaps, but if they had the resources to litigate this matter, the outcome is not so clear cut.
  25. mrcraft

    mrcraft Poo-Bah (2,067) Dec 15, 2012 California
    Society Trader

    I agree. I exchanged messages with the brewery yesterday. They have clever names up their sleeves and will put this behind them, move on and hopefully prosper.
    charlzm and BrettHead like this.
  26. PatKorn

    PatKorn Initiate (175) Aug 30, 2007 California

    Why? These people are just trying to protect their hard work and money. Most of the time the people getting the cease and desist are in the wrong to begin with. It takes a little bit of time and energy to investigate these things. You can go to the TTB website and it will let you check on names and logos. Or use a little thing called Google. This is bound to happen again.
    charlzm likes this.
  27. 57md

    57md Poo-Bah (3,271) Aug 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Golden Road's lawsuit would be a coin flip if it actually went to a judge or jury. The shame of it is that Golden Road knew that Goldenrod would not likely have the means to defend themselves in federal court, so they slapped them with the threat of a lawsuit and bullied their way to a "win."

    My fondest hope is that the petty bastards at Golden Road get hit with a lawsuit from Grateful Dead Inc. Karma's a bitch, fellas!
    All4MeNone4You and RCM505 like this.
  28. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Poo-Bah (1,626) Jul 27, 2013 Texas
    Society Trader

    I doubt a small brewery in Nebraska adopted the name of the state flower in order to maliciously undermine the business of a smallish California brewery.

    The logos do look somewhat similar, but both are far from unique.

    I have tried a few Golden Road brews just out of curiosity, but after this lawsuit, I will never consume their products again.
    grze, ksbc3, VonZipper and 2 others like this.
  29. Henamonster

    Henamonster Initiate (51) Feb 2, 2007 California

    Because the blogger said they were bullied? Where's Goldenrod's official statement saying they were bullied?

    My fondest hope is that both breweries just go off and brew some great beer in the most original way possible.
    albertq17 likes this.
  30. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Savant (951) Sep 4, 2010 California

    I also highly doubt it was an intentional accident. These situation suck for sure, I'm just saying without emotion I can see why Golden Road would want to protect their brand.
    nanobrew likes this.
  31. 57md

    57md Poo-Bah (3,271) Aug 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    The inital post in this thread has a statement from Goldenrod's FB page. It is clear from their statement that they would like to defend themselves but they cannot afford to do so at this time. Golden Road likely knew this would be the result when they threatened legal action. If the case actually went to court, the burden of proof would be on Golden Road. Golden Road's claim is questionable, particularly on the matter of the name.

    This is a classic example of one party using the threat of a lawsuit to bully another party.
  32. WhatdaHec

    WhatdaHec Initiate (0) Aug 6, 2003 California

    All of you who are complaining about 'this type of stuff', if you were the owners of Golden Road I can assure 100% that you would have done the same thing. It's not small stuff. Protecting your brand, trademark, etc. is all you have as a business and if another company is even similar to you, you HAVE to protect it, otherwise you will be trampled on and lose what you've worked so hard to create. It's not personal, just business.

    Heck, the ONLY differenct in the names is the letter 'A'...way too similar to ignore if you're Golden Road.

    By the way, I'm thinking about creating a website called could go wrong?
    #32 WhatdaHec, Nov 9, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
    Retsinis, nanobrew, jkblodge and 4 others like this.
  33. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2013 Minnesota

    In what world is this legitimate? Perhaps if they sold beer in the same market you could make an argument that they have cause to "protect their brand." As it is...they do not.

    I'm tired of seeing the courts/lawyers involved in situations that could be resolved between brewers. It's shady, and completely counter to everything the craft beer movement stands for. This is the kind of shit I expect from BMC...not from small privately held breweries who live worlds away (in the industry).
    grze, rlcoffey, dedbeer and 1 other person like this.
  34. WhatdaHec

    WhatdaHec Initiate (0) Aug 6, 2003 California

    Nope, this is a classic example of textbook 'how to run a business'.
    nanobrew and albertq17 like this.
  35. WhatdaHec

    WhatdaHec Initiate (0) Aug 6, 2003 California

    'Same Market'? What would Sierra Nevada have done in 1981 if someone had created a similar brand to them and they did nothing?? They are worldwide now, so that's a very shortsighted comment.
    You are assuming these companies will stay small and local. Who says that will be the case?
    Again, this is simply.good. business.
  36. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2013 Minnesota

    Yes, I'm well aware that they are looking to the future.

    As I said, my issue with this is not that Golden Road has concerns about their brand, but how they went about informing Goldenrod of the issue. My mentioning them not being in the same market was an example of why sending a C&D was unnecessary.
    dedbeer likes this.
  37. WhatdaHec

    WhatdaHec Initiate (0) Aug 6, 2003 California

    I hear you...with stuff like this, there isn't really a nice way to go about it. You just have to do it. Protecting your business is like protecting your family. When it comes down to it, people just do it, no matter what.
  38. mrcraft

    mrcraft Poo-Bah (2,067) Dec 15, 2012 California
    Society Trader

    Look at how Societe handled their cease & desist request. In the end, no one is angry at anyone and there is no polarizing thread anywhere.
  39. Henamonster

    Henamonster Initiate (51) Feb 2, 2007 California

    I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I don't understand the point you're trying to make. Societe issues a Cease and Desist, Former Future Brewing talks about it on their blog. Fair enough, no further discussion. Golden Road issues a Cease and Desist, Goldenrod allegedly talks about it on another blog not their own. Note the difference?
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  40. mrcraft

    mrcraft Poo-Bah (2,067) Dec 15, 2012 California
    Society Trader

    There's a huge difference. Societe engaged in a conversation with Former Future Brewing to discuss the issue after the demand was made. Most people are annoyed at Golden Road's lack of response to Goldenrod's attempted efforts to begin a dialogue to see if any compromises could have been made after receiving the cease & desist letter.
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