BrewDog defends copyright stance

31 March, 2017

BrewDog's Punk IPA

International craft beer giant BrewDog has defended its threats of legal action against a bar for using the word ‘punk’ in its title.

The Guardian newspaper reported that Brewdog had threatened a bar with legal action over the use of ‘Draft Punk’ as its name.

BrewDog owns the trademark to the word ‘punk’ preventing its use among similar goods and services. It is the second occasion it has challenged the word’s use.

Brewdog is one of the ‘mainstream’ brands in the recent resurgence of craft beer and the company has grown from brewing 1,050 hectolitres in 2007, to owning 44 bars and brewing 134,000 hectolitres in 2015.

BrewDog said on its website: “In terms of the apparent ‘Draft Punk’ bar in Leeds (UK), this is just opportunistic lies combined with inaccurate journalism.

“The other party tried to register ‘Draft Punk’ as a trademark, but we own the ‘Punk’ trademark for beer, so naturally we objected as that is one of our trademarks.”

The Guardian claimed that music producer Tony Green, who wanted to open the bar named Draft Punk, said: “They can’t own punk, that’s the whole point. It’s inherited, it’s British culture.

“After all of it, I just thought whatever, we can think of another name. But how dare you own that word, you can’t have it. You’ll get no sob story from us but they were just nasty and heavy-handed from start to finish.”

Sharon Daboul, a senior associate trademark attorney in London believes that it is important for big companies to protect their trademarks.

Daboul said: “From BrewDog’s perspective, allowing others to register and/or use names or insignia in the drinks industry, that consumers identify so strongly with BrewDog’s brand, could muddy the waters and dilute its registered trademarks.”

Daboul added: “’David vs Goliath’ trademark battles make for popular stories in the press, as the public tends to favour the plucky underdog against the muscle-flexing brand owner.

“Having a strict trademark enforcement policy helps BrewDog to stand out in the beverages sector.”

BrewDog co-founder James Watt also viewed his opinion via Twitter.

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