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Metal band to settle trademark dispute over beer name

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.

According to Reuters, on August 12 the band Guns N' Roses filed notice with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that it and Oskar Blues, a Colorado brewery, had agreed on July 31 to settle their trademark infringement dispute over the brewer's use of the label "Guns 'N' Rosé" for ale and on merchandise. The band's attorneys are crafting a settlement agreement and will eventually request that the May 9 suit be dismissed, presumably if the settlement is approved.  

We previously wrote in detail about the lawsuit when the band filed it. The band's named partners are original members Axl Rose (vocals), Duff McKagan (bass) and Slash (guitar), according to Rolling Stone.

Reuters reports that the lawsuit alleges that the brewery's use of the name Guns 'N' Rosé to sell a beer that blends "sticky prickly pear and floral hibiscus with a subtle hop profile" was an effort to "deliberately trad[e] off [the band's] fame and goodwill ..." For readers not familiar with the band, among metal fans, it is definitely iconic. While the group started in the 80s, it kicks off another leg of its current tour in September.

Guns N' Roses was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. The organization's website has a detailed history of the group.  

Even if terms of the settlement agreement are kept confidential and no terms are announced, the public will certainly be able to ascertain if the brewerly is still selling under that name and, if so, how it may market itself and other public-facing details. We will be keeping an eye brewing developments.

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