United Brands sues Anheuser-Busch for too-similar can design
Posted by Lisa McTigue Pierce -- Packaging Digest, 11/17/2010 12:12:38 PM
United Brands Co., maker of Joose flavored malt beverage and beer products, has filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement, copyright infringement, unfair competition and related claims, against Anheuser-Busch Inc. and its competing flavored malt beverage called Tilt. United Brands has sold Joose since 2006 and is seeking to protect the brand integrity of Dragon Joose, one of its popular versions of Joose.
"While we are flattered that Anheuser-Busch recognizes the considerable value of the Joose brand, it is disappointing that they have resorted to stealing our design," says Michael Michail, CEO and president of United Brands. "Their new Tilt product design intentionally infringes on our Dragon Joose Marks and is thereby benefiting from the brand equity of United Brands and its products."
United Brands' complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Of California, alleges that Anheuser-Busch has intentionally infringed United Brands' Dragon Joose Design Marks and caused a likelihood of confusion among the consuming public, thereby committing common law trademark infringement.
In 2007, United Brands launched its Dragon Joose product. The can label has remained substantially unchanged since launch. Recently, however, Anheuser-Busch completely changed the design and began selling Tilt in cans featuring a dragon design that closely resembles the design of United Brands' Dragon Joose cans.
Represented by DLA Piper LLP, United Brands seeks to recover from Anheuser-Busch the damages United Brands has sustained and will sustain, and all profits, gains and advantages derived by Anheuser-Busch as a result of its infringement of the Dragon Design Copyrights, in amount to be proven at trial.
"Our company has devoted a great deal of time, money and resources to create and market our Dragon Joose product, including its inherently distinctive packaging design which sets the Dragon Joose brand product apart from its competition," said Michail. "The success of Joose has established United Brands as a leading seller of flavored malt beverages in the United States."
Source: United Brands Co.