Anheuser-Busch stole Patagonia’s name for beer with ‘strikingly similar’ logo, suit says

Patagonia has filed a lawsuit accusing Anheuser-Busch of illegally trademarking a Patagonia brand beer, creating a “fictitious” business called “Patagonia Brewing Co.” and intensively promoting the new beverage to American drinkers.

The Ventura, California, clothing company filed its trademark infringement lawsuit against the St. Louis, Missouri, beer giant on Tuesday in federal court in Los Angeles, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by McClatchy. Anheuser-Busch is accused in the complaint of going to “great lengths to pass itself off as Patagonia.”

A spokeswoman for Anheuser-Busch, which makes beers ranging from Stella Artois to Bud Light and Natural Ice, defended the company.

“We are aware of this lawsuit and believe it to be without merit,” Samantha Roth wrote in a statement emailed to McClatchy. “We will vigorously defend our trademark rights.”

The lawsuit claims Anheuser-Busch submitted false evidence to United States regulators to trademark a Patagonia beer in 2012 — then did nothing with the trademark registration for six years, until the beer maker recently started promoting the new brand at ski resorts in Colorado.

The beer maker set up what appeared to be pop-up stores at the ski lodgings, “featuring a large PATAGONIA logo sign and a placard describing ‘Patagonia’s ‘tree positive’ mission,’” according to the lawsuit.

Beer sellers there wore black down jackets emblazoned with Anheuser-Busch’s Patagonia beer logo, and handed out hats, T-shirts and scarves with the same branding, the lawsuit said — branding that the clothing maker says “is strikingly similar to Patagonia’s famous mountain silhouette logo that has appeared continuously for decades on millions of products. “

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Patagonia said that at ski resorts Anheuser-Busch “set up what looks like a pop-up store, including a booth ... featuring a large PATAGONIA logo sign and a placard describing ‘Patagonia’s “tree positive” mission.’ Customers were told AB will plant one tree for every case of beer purchased.” U.S. District Court filing

Patagonia’s lawsuit said Anheuser-Busch “is clearly attempting to copy Patagonia’s famous brand identity to confuse consumers” and “has launched its copycat brand at ski resorts where Patagonia, Inc.’s ski apparel is widely used and universally recognized in further attempts to draft off Patagonia’s goodwill.”

Patagonia said that Anheuser-Busch “has done everything possible to make it appear as though this PATAGONIA beer is sold by Patagonia.”

A spokesperson for Patagonia said in an email that, beyond the text of the complaint, the company had “no further comment” on the lawsuit.

Patagonia included this side-by-side comparison of the Anheuser-Busch beer logos, left, with its own branding, right. U.S. District Court filing

The company said in the complaint that it filed the lawsuit to stop Anheuser-Busch from maintaining its registration of the trademark and to stop the company from selling the beer.

Meanwhile, the clothing company Patagonia is marketing a beer of its own, which is made in Portland, Oregon, with organic ingredients that save water and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, Civil Eats reported in 2016.