Peak Organic, Shipyard sued by Connecticut brewery over 'Ripe' in name

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by MonkeyDonkey, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. MonkeyDonkey

    MonkeyDonkey Initiate (79) Sep 2, 2009 Massachusetts

  2. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,070) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    I plan to ignore this dispute it because I really don't care which way the wind blows on this one.
  3. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    So if you make a beer with a really long name (5 words+) and someone else uses one of those words as the name of their beer, can you sue then? This just seems dumb. They aren't even in the same region, just a money grab.
    Ale_Jedi, Oktoberfiesta and hopsputin like this.
  4. hopsputin

    hopsputin Meyvn (1,356) Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

    Yikes. Doesn’t seem like much of a case to me, but what do I know. It seems silly over that one word
  5. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,240) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois

    One step closer to the first lawsuit on the use of 'juicy' in a beer name (unless there has already been one?).
    BayAreaJoe and Oktoberfiesta like this.
  6. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (544) Mar 28, 2009 California

    Stony creek got the cranky part right.
  7. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (251) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Can you really copyright words like JUICY, or HAZY, or JUICE? I've seen hundreds of beers sold in cans with those types of names. Is everyone letting it slide, or are they focused so much on selling the beer (and it selling out), that they havent really thought of others using that name.

    Couldnt one be confused with the term GREEN. Other Half has many beers with green in the name. Founders has one called Green Zebra.

    What about TH Julius? There is little coincidence that they are basically stealing Orange Julius' trademark on their soft orange juice drink. My thing is, unless your taphandles are basically identical, and your packaging is the same, you can pretty much have the same keywords in your product.

    This one seems to be reaching a tad bit
  8. zid

    zid Savant (930) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    I didn't know Peak was a brand of Shipyard. Anybody have more (or correct) info on this?
  9. MonkeyDonkey

    MonkeyDonkey Initiate (79) Sep 2, 2009 Massachusetts

    Shipyard contract-brews Peak and several other brands.
    Lone_Freighter likes this.
  10. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (251) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Isn' Peak Organics a little too close to Gold Peak Iced Tea brand? I thought for a second the tea company was getting sued.

    They also have a beer called The Juice. Why isnt Juice Machine, Wheeze the Juice, Southern Juice, Hop Juice, Fleer Juice, Juicebox, Not Guilty! The juice, Jedi Juice, and Space Juice (that's all on page one of google images btw) all butting heads?

    Hell, there are six wheezin the juices on BA alone, with wheeze the juice being a solo entry. There are 734 entries for Juice. Great Notion has a ipa called ripe IPA. Castle Island has one called Swipe Ripe.

    Craziness. I despise breweries who go through these sorts of lawsuits. Holier than thou
    #10 Oktoberfiesta, Jun 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
    Lone_Freighter likes this.
  11. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,695) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Well contract brewing isn't the same as ownership, so there must be more to it than that.

    See point 6 on page 2 of the PDF of the complaint. Shipyards owns a lot of brands it appears:

    "6. Shipyard does business under the assumed name Peak Organic Brewing Co., LLC ("Shipyard d/b/a Peak"), and does, or has done, business under the assumed names Mighty Squirrel, Kennebunkport Brewing Company, Belfast Bay Brewery, Gritty McDuff's Brewing Co., St. John Brewers, Virgin Island, Sea Dog Brewing Co, LiveMaine, Notch Brewing Company, Bar Harbor Brewing Company, LLC, Woodstock Inn Brewery, Carrabassett Brewing Company, Casco Bay Brewing Company, Atlantic Brewing Company, LLC, Old Nutfield Brewing Company, Pugsely Brewing Co., LLC, Shipyard Brewing Company, LLC."
    drtth and zid like this.
  12. zid

    zid Savant (930) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Thanks for pointing out that document, I didn't notice it when I looked at the article. It's stating that Shipyard is "doing business as" Peak. That list of brands makes me assume that this is still what we call contract brewing here... but I can use some clarity. Would contract brewing make both parties subject to a trademark infringement lawsuit? That seems like a headache. Who buys and legally owns the cans before filing? @jesskidden , I feel like you'd have some legal insight here.
  13. Ranbot

    Ranbot Zealot (546) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    My gut reaction is Stony Creek is over-reaching, but gut-reactions and actual law don't always meet and I don't care about the outcome to debate it further.

    I noticed Stony Creek led with a lawsuit, instead of a more informal (i.e. "nicer") C&D letter. I don't know if that says anything about the validity of their claim to "Ripe" or the severity of Peak's infringement, but leading with a lawsuit seems more and more common recently, which is an interesting change from past disputes.

    The most interesting thing I read in the article though was this (underlines by me):
    "Lawsuits over beer names are becoming more common, said Brendan Palfreyman, a Syracuse, New York, trademark lawyer in the Harris Beach law firm who is not involved in the lawsuit. Palfreyman says there are two or three lawsuits over beer names a month..."

    :astonished:... Two or three lawsuits per month over beer names is a lot more than I would expect based what gets posted in these forums.
    #13 Ranbot, Jun 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
    JackHorzempa and drtth like this.
  14. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,361) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Yeah, using a 'dba' name does not always mean the brewer owns the brand, just that that is how the particular beer is registered with the TTB, based on legal technicalities like whether it is a simply "contract" brewed beer or an alternating proprietorship and/or if the contractee brewer has a TTB permit, etc.

    Just a simple example by searching COLAs for a well-known contractor brewer like FX Matt, when they brewed some Long Trail and Flying Dog beers, the paperwork listed the brewer as:
    and the labels on the former said "Long Trail Brewing Co., Utica, NY" ...but obviously Matt does not own the Long Trail or Flying Dog brands.
  15. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,055) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    They did send a C&D. See para. #34 in the complaint.
    Ranbot likes this.
  16. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (251) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Does visual text size not have any significance? Stony Creek barely shows their breweries name let alone their ripe n cranky series name is in small ass print. Peak uses ripe as a main selling point. Something's not right as these two couldn't be more visually different.
  17. Ranbot

    Ranbot Zealot (546) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I stand corrected. Looks like until this filing the dispute stayed private, which is good and professional for both parties.
  18. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,055) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    So, IOW, you agree with Stone in Stone v MillerCoors! :grin:
    drtth likes this.
  19. oldbean

    oldbean Aspirant (272) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    Legalities aside, this seems like an unnecessary and dickish move.
  20. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (251) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Possibly. But price point and amount of product being sold counts too. Confusing a 30 pack of Stones key stone for $20 thinking it may be a Stone brewery product is a touch different than both of these Peak Organics and Stony Creek being in the same $9-$15 4-6 pack range. As far as I know, Stone does not go beyond the 12 pack format.

    Its just odd. The brewery that is suing is barely using the Ripe terminology. I know one has to sue to honor their trademark, so to speak. But actually using it in appropriate context should be something the courts look at too. Ie, if you want to own the RIPE name, frickin USE it.

    I mention visual cues because in the court pdfs, we always read about how consumers can be CONFUSED by one product vs. another. Ripe is basically visible in one can art vs. Ripe being prominent in another. The courts try to make consumers seem super dumb, and they can be. But looking at their own evidence, I see no confusion.
  21. JayWhitson

    JayWhitson Crusader (716) Feb 25, 2015 Montana
    Premium Trader

    Great Notion has an IPA called Ripe. I suppose they are next...
  22. oldbean

    oldbean Aspirant (272) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    Just locally, Castle Island does a fruited double IPA called Swipe Ripe.

    Do a search on your beer website of choice for "ripe". There's a ton of them out there. Make this all the more weird.
    Lone_Freighter and JayWhitson like this.
  23. OldLady

    OldLady Devotee (480) Apr 25, 2006 Connecticut
    Premium Trader

    For those who have not had a Stony Creek beer, do not be tempted out of curiosity. Poor to mediocre.
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.