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Trademark dispute: Guns N' Roses is not amused over Guns N' Rosé

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

In another intellectual property dispute involving a rock band, metal group Guns N' Roses sued a Longmont, Colorado, brewery on May 9 over a new craft beer branded as Guns N' Rosé. The complaint for trademark infringement, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, has been widely covered in the media, with Reuters reporting that the rockers are accusing the famous brewer, Oskar Blues, of "intentionally trading off [the band's] goodwill, prestige and fame."

Confusion over the beer's origins?

The suit also alleges that the public will be confused about whether the new brew is associated with the band in some way. Reuters reports that the band is concerned about the brewery using the mark on "T-shirts, stickers, buttons and bandannas," which are also items associated with the band's merchandising.

Legal remedies sought

Plaintiff musicians are reportedly asking the court to award triple monetary damages and to order that Oskar Blues stop selling any products that infringe on the band's trademark. The brewer has sold cans of the controversially-named Guns N' Rosé ale since February, according to Westword.

Westword elaborates on the history of this infringement lawsuit, noting that the band in an earlier cease-and-desist latter said that it has registered the Guns N' Roses trademark in the U.S. and in other countries for use in connection with musical performances and recordings, as well as clothing. Westword reports that the brewery says the band does not own the trademark for use on alcoholic beverages.

The band asserts that its trademark is so famous that protection should extend to other kinds of products because the mark is "widely recognized," which the brewer disputes. Oskar Blues reportedly said it would not stop selling the ale and related goods until March 31, 2020, which apparently prompted the band to file the lawsuit.

We will report back as news is available about this dispute.

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