In yet another Canadian trademark dispute involving alcoholic beverages – seems to be a bit of a trend lately – Ontario based Brick Brewing Co. Limited has issued an announcement that Labatt Brewing Company Limited has commenced an action in Canada’s Federal Court against Brick, alleging that Brick’s RED BARON trademark infringes Labatt’s BRAVA trademark. While these marks, taken by themselves, seem quite different, the dispute focuses on the similarities between the labels and packaging used with these products, along with the similarity of the bottles.
In an interesting side bar, Labatt has a significant ownership interest in Ontario’s “The Beer Store” which is by far the largest retail channel for beer in Canada’s most populous province. As such, Labatt indirectly receives fees from Red Brick in order to display its RED BARON lager in a lobby display program at The Beer Store, as well as fees to sort RED BARON bottles, which are non-industry standard. Brick argues that because of the set up of The Beer Store, where more popular brands such as those sold by Labatt are featured more prominently, consumers generally have to ask for Brick’s products, such as RED BARON, by name, thereby lessening any likelihood of confusion.