Friday, September 4, 2009

Who owns lime?

I've seen a few articles in the past couple of days about a lawsuit filed by A-B/InBev/Labatt and friends against a Canada's Brick Brewing Company over their Red Baron Lime product. There's no question that Bud Light Lime has been the greatest success story for A-B to hang their hat on in recent years - probably bigger for them than Blue Moon has been for Coors. In their terms they'd probably say that they're protecting their brand and their share of the market place. But make no mistake. This is a shot across the bow, definitely intended to scare any of the little guys out there who try to fuck with their shit (sorry for the language, I've been watching a lot of Kenny Powers clips lately).

The plaintiff's claims are twofold - that Brick is ripping off their label and design, and that their product is inferior and will somehow damage the reputation of Bud Light Lime. The latter is just ridiculous and really warrants no real consideration. People aren't stupid. They don't look at the shelf and think that A-B is responsible for every product they see (even though A-B would certainly love for that to be the case). Just like I can buy two different jars of salsa and decide to keep buying the one that I think tastes best, I can pick out which of the two lime flavored beers is superior. Or I can just keep moving - but that's another story.

As far as the design goes, as much as I hate to say it, maybe A-B has a case here:

It's definitely not blatant, but I have a hard time believing that the similarities are coincidental. And when you compare Brick's Laker Lager label and marketing designs to Labatt Blue, I think there's precedent.

You see, they're McDonalds, I'm McDowell's. They got the golden arches, mine is the golden arcs...

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