U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Stone Beer Sues Over Keystone Rebranding

When one of the nation's largest beer producers decided to rebrand one of the worst beers in the country, they probably didn't think it could get any worse. However, MillerCoors may now be fighting an uphill legal battle as, not surprisingly for MillerCoors, the rebranding team clearly isn't into craft beer and seems to have clearly infringed on one of the biggest craft brewery's IP.

Stone Brewing Company filed suit against MillerCoors as a result of its Keystone beer being rebranded as just Stone. As Stone Brewing explains in the federal complaint, the mass produced beer not only confuses consumers with this rebranding, it harms the craft beer company's reputation because it is an inferior product. Interestingly though, in a video posted by the craft brewery's CEO, he claims that the lawsuit would go away if Keystone just put the Key back in the name.

Stone Social Media

As part of the complaint, Stone Brewing shows the various social media posts that the Keystone team put up to garner support for the new name. As the craft beer company shows, Keystone's new graphics and logo, are all reminiscent of the Stone graphic and logo.

Notably, Stone explained that when Keystone attempted to register the Stone name years ago, it was rejected because of Stone Brewing. However, Keystone claims that their drinkers have been calling it "Stone" since it was founded in 1989. But that may not matter if a court finds that the use of the Stone mark violates IP law.

Arrogant Pleading Phrasing

While Arrogant Bastard Ale may be one of Stone's more infamous beers, it certainly seems to be the inspiration for whichever lawyer actually drafted the complaint. There are some zingers there, including some facts like Keystone being named "one of the beers Americans no longer drink" by USA Today. Additionally, the pleading refers to "big beer" and "their fizzy yellow offerings."

Related Resources: