Odds aren’t looking good for MillerCoors
By: Amaris Wayman
It happened! David beats Goliath in this lengthy legal battle. Stone Brewing, a San Diego based craft brewer has a strong case against one of the largest brewing companies MillerCoors. On March 26th, the court issued its order and Stone Brewing will likely move forward to trial. Although the Stones injunction was denied, the judge claims that they have a “moderately strong” case.
What has happened you might ask? Apparently, MillerCoors was infringing on Stone Brewing’s trademark rights. MillerCoors made an attempt to rebrand its themed key- stone light product as “STONE.” This has hurt Stone Brewery and its brand.
Once Stone Brewery became aware of this, they immediately took an audacious action by filing a lawsuit against MillerCoors in February of 2018. The injunction that Stone fought for would have put a stop to these rebranded cans during the trial. It’s been one long year, but for Stone Brewing it was well worth it.
Greg Koch, executive chairman & co-founder of Stone Brewing made this statement- “This is a very big deal. The Court’s order confirms what we knew: that MillerCoors should be ashamed of what they have been doing. All along this has been a clear-cut infringement case, and now we can focus our resources on proving the significant damages done to the good name of Stone Brewing To any believer in independent, craft beer, today is a good day.”
The CEO, Dominic Engels added “We are pleased that the Court recognized the validity of Stone’s infringement claims. Miller Coors has made hundreds of millions of dollars from rebranding Keystone in a way that infringes on our trademark. It also has hurt Stone and our brand. We look forward to presenting this evidence to the Court at trial.”
Even though the case has not yet been moved forward to trial, it is very likely that it will.
The judge stated that the court agreed with Stone, “especially considering the marks incontestability, Stone is entitled to the strong protection afforded to suggestive marks.”
Additionally, the Court wrote this statement, “Since Stone and Miller both produce a beer which is distributed nationally, a consumer is likely to encounter both within close proximity of the other, making it reasonable to consider Miller a direct competitor of Stone … Taking all the factors into account, the Court finds that Stone’s trademark infringement claim against Miller is moderately strong.” Things are looking good for Stone and they just may win this case. This victorious ruling may mean protection for Stone Brewing and its original “STONE” trademark.
A Little History on Stone Brewing:
Stone Brewing is an award-winning San Diego based brewery that produces craft beer. Stone is known for their bold beers, specifically IPA’s and Ales. The founders, Greg Koch, and Steve Wagner decided to take their dreams to SoCal in 1996. On April 26, 1996, the brewery officially opened in San Marcos, CA where they sold their very first keg. Word spread and the brewery began to pick up business quickly.
As Stone Brewing began to further expand, the company decided to move to a large facility located in Escondido, CA. Stone Brewing Bistro and Garden opened for business in 2006. Today, the brewery continues to succeed in crafting one of a kind beers.