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Moosehead Breweries suing over Moose Wizz root beer logo

03/24/2015 12:37 EDT | Updated 05/24/2015 05:59 EDT
Moosehead Breweries Limited is suing a pub in upstate New York for alleged trademark infringement and unfair competition over its non-alcoholic root beer logo.

Adirondack Pub & Brewery Inc., in Lake George, N.Y., currently makes Moose Wizz, and markets the drink in a bottle featuring the head of a cartoon-like moose with a toothy grin.

In a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court earlier this month, the Saint John-based beer-making giant says the soft drink's logo is "highly similar" and may cause "irreparable damage and injury" to its brand.

But Adirondack Pub & Brewery founder John Carr rejects that claim.

"I'm a little like the moose, I'm a pretty independent guy and that didn't ring well with me," Carr told CBC News.

"The Moosehead Brewery, they don't make soda, they don't market anything in our area, there's been no confusion in the marketplace whatsoever with these products," he said.

​No one from Moosehead was immediately available for comment.

Moosehead's lawyers have requested a jury trial and damages, including all the profit made from Moose Wizz.

Late last year, Moosehead convinced a micro-brewery in Sudbury, Ont., to drop the word "moose" from the name of its Imperial IPA Angry Moose and India Pale Ale Friendly Moose products.

Shawn Mailloux, the owner of Stack Brewing, said Andrew Oland, the president of Moosehead Breweries, had called him to say Moosehead has the sole rights to the word "moose" when it comes to beer in Canada.

Moosehead says its case against Adirondack Pub & Brewery dates back to 2008 when Carr attempted to trademark the Moose Wizz name, then abandoned his application when faced with opposition from Moosehead, based on its prior use of the Moose family of trademarks.

"Moosehead has used the Moosehead mark since at least 1931 in connection with ale, beer, stout, porter and lager," the court documents state.

"Moosehead's Moose family of marks include marks which include the term 'Moose' and/or the likeness of the head of a moose."

The company contends Adirondack Pub and Brewery's Moose Wizz logo is so similar, "members of the purchasing public familiar with Moosehead's products and Moosehead'sMoosehead trademarks are likely to be confused, misled or deceived into thinking that the products of Defendant are products of Moosehead or are in some way sponsored by or connected with Moosehead, to Moosehead's irreparable damage and injury.

"Moosehead has no control over the nature and quality of the products offered by Defendant under the Moose Wizz trademark, and thus will be damaged and irreparably harmed by reason of the loss of control over its reputation and the erosion of its goodwill in the Moosehead Registered Marks," the documents state.

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