A federal judge on Tuesday denied Anheuser-Busch’s motion to dismiss a trademark case filed by outdoor clothing maker Patagonia after the world’s largest beer manufacturer launched a beer called Cerveza Patagonia.
According to Law 360, Patagonia sued for trademark dilution, rather than trademark infringement, due to the two company’s products being unrelated. A company can only file for trademark dilution when the mark has become “famous.”
U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled that Patagonia, who cited more than $10 billion in sales, did indeed fit this description.
“To meet the ‘famousness’ element of protection under the dilution statutes, a mark must be truly prominent and renowned,” Phillips wrote. “Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that its ‘Patagonia’ mark is famous and distinctive.”
Along with trademark dilution, the lawsuit also sought to cancel Anheuser-Busch’s 2012 registration of the name “Patagonia,” as it could be associated with the apparel company. Phillips refused Anheuser-Busch’s request to dismiss those claims.
Patagonia general counsel Rob Tadlock told Law 360 that Anheuser-Busch has “deliberately tried to confuse customers into thinking that Patagonia Cerveza is produced by Patagonia, rather than Anheuser-Busch.”
Last month, Anheuser-Busch launched Cerveza Patagonia in 13 states.