Anheuser-Busch Attempts To Block Craft Beer Maker’s Trademark

by T+B Blog Team on June 25, 2014

Brewing company Anheuser-Busch is opposing the attempt of a North Carolina craft brewer to trademark the name “Natty Greene’s,” claiming that it is confusingly similar to its family of “Natty” marks, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. applied for a trademark of the “Natty Greene’s” phrase last August, stating in the application that it has been using the phrase in commerce for 10 years.

However, Anheuser-Busch, the North American headquarters for Anheuser-Busch InBev, considers the name too similar to its Natty Light products, according to an article in the Triangle Business Journal. Many consumers call Anheuser-Busch’s Natural Light brand “Natty’s,” the company said in the challenge to Natty Greene’s trademark application. Anheuser-Busch filed the “Natty Light” trademark in 1999.

The Triangle Business Journal quotes Kayne Fisher, co-founder of Natty Greene’s, who said that when filing the application the company had no idea such an issue could occur. The company is named after Nathanael Greene, a general in the Revolutionary War. The city of Greensboro, North Carolina, where Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. is based, is also named after the general.

A spokesman for Anheuser-Busch, Adam Warrington, explained that a trademark opposition relates only to an applicant’s right to register a mark. The company is not opposing Natty Greene’s ability to sell beer. The company has based its notice of opposition on its established rights of Natty-related trademarks, Warrington said.

While the craft beer maker hasn’t filed its reply with the trademark office yet, Fisher has stated that he will not give up seeking the trademark as he finds the opposition filing unfounded. “I don’t think anybody’s confusing Natty Greene’s with an Anheuser-Busch brand,” Fisher told the Charlotte Business Journal.

Do you think it’s likely that consumers will confuse Natty Greene’s craft beer with Anheuser-Busch’s Natural Light brand?

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