The King vs The Queen - U.S. Trademark Opposition
Budweiser is known in the marketplace as the quintessential all American beer, so much so that it has dubbed itself the “King of Beer.”
It’s no surprise that this “King” has an issue with the new “Queen” on the scene.
On 19 August 2015, Anheuser-Busch, LLC filed an opposition against a trademark application for the mark THE QUEEN OF BEER, applied for by the SHE Beverage Company in December 2014. “The Queen of Beer” began launching sales at retailers and restaurants in April this year and Anheuser-Busch is not pleased.
In it’s Notice of Opposition, Anheuser-Busch claims that it “sold millions of dollars’ worth of, and spent millions of dollars advertising and promoting, its beer and related merchandise and promotional materials under the KING OF BEERS Marks.” and as a result of it’s “extensive marketing and promotion of beer and related merchandise and promotional materials under the KING OF BEERS Marks, coupled with the overwhelming commercial success of these products, Opposer’s KING OF BEERS Marks have become famous and well known.”
Anheuser-Busch is not new to others trying to use the term “Queen” for beer. In 2000, it was engaged in another opposition against another mark “The Queen of Beers” and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board granted Anheuser-Busch’s motion for summary judgment and the case was dismissed. Summary judgment is an application that can be brought by either party during a proceeding and the Board may approve this motion if it considers that a party has no real prospect of succeeding with the opposition and there is no other reason why the opposition should proceed.
In the 2000 opposition, the Board held that “Because opposer’s and applicant’s slogans share the same syntax, merely replacing the KING with QUEEN would be likely to be viewed by prospective consumers as an extension of opposer’s beer product line marketed specifically toward women. Given the fame of opposer’s KING OF BEERS mark and the fact that applicant’s and opposer’s goods are identical, if applicant’s mark were used on beer, we believe that prospective purchasers would be likely to assume that applicant’s beer originates from the same source as opposer’s beer.”
The SHE Beverage Company has until 28 September 2015 to respond to the Notice of Opposition.