California-based band Guns N’ Roses is suing a brewery in Colorado over a menu item that bears the name “Guns N’ Rosé” ale. The band claims the name the establishment is using for its ale creates the false impression that they are somehow associated with it. The brewery at the center of the matter attempted to trademark the name for its product in 2018, which is what ultimately attracted the band’s attention.
The trademark infringement litigation related to this matter was initiated after the brewery was contacted by the band’s manager. The business subsequently withdrew their trademark application. However, they continued to sell the rosé ale. The brewery also sells merchandise with the name that’s similar to the one that’s been used by the band for more than 30 years.
Guns N’ Roses is seeking an injunction against the Colorado brewery. If granted, it would prevent the business from selling their Guns N’ Rosé ale. According to the lawsuit, which was filed in a California court, the band also wants the brewery to surrender any promotional materials they may have created for the ale. The band wants such materials destroyed. Guns N’ Roses is also seeking unspecified damages. It’s not unusual for bands to take legal action of this nature to prevent unauthorized use of logos or other trademarked materials associated with their image. Nirvana took a similar step when a major designer used the grunge band’s distinctive smiley face logo without permission.
Trademark infringement litigation often involves trying to stop instances of the unauthorized use of trademarked names or materials with a cease-and-desist letter. If this initial effort doesn’t work, the next step is usually going to court. The strength of an infringement case is often dependent on the likelihood of confusion. A claim can also be made that unauthorized trademark use is tarnishing or diluting a brand’s image.
Source: Fox Business, “Guns N’ Roses sues Colorado brewery for alleged trademark infringement,” Joe Williams, May 10, 2019