Editorial Dept.'s picture

Martin City Beats AB The Hard Way

Martin City Brewing Company Hard Way IPA

Martin City Brewing Company is trying to teach Anheuser-Busch, Inc. a lesson in copyright law, the hard way.

“While we have no particular issues with brewing at a macro scale, we do take issue with anyone or any corporation that tries to segment a part of the population which embodies the very nature of loving beer,” wrote Martin City co-owners Matt Moore and Chancie Adams in an emailed statement.

On Feb. 5, just days after Anheuser-Busch’s notorious Budweiser ad ran, the Kansas City, Missouri based brewpub filed a trademark application for its Hard Way IPA. AB didn’t attempt to trademark the phrase “Brewed the Hard Way” until Feb. 6.

The applications differ, as Martin City’s is for an “actual use” trademark, and the mark in question had been used in commerce effective Feb. 4. AB’s application is for an “intent to use” trademark. According to Kaider law blog, copyright law dictates that “first in the market has priority over all second comers.”

As a result, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suspended AB’s application on May 13, citing Martin City’s still-pending application as a possible bar to registration.