I heard back from Magic Hat regarding the lawsuit they filed against Lexington’s West Sixth Brewing earlier this week on trademark infringements.
Basically, they’re claiming that they have had talks with West Sixth since September and thought they had agreed to modify their logo. But then West Sixth launched a social media smear campaign, and here we are.
“West Sixth Brewing packaged the ‘perfect story’ of a large brewery beating up on a small start-up,” says Ryan Daley, brand manager of Magic Hat. “The only problem is: It’s not true.” He says many wholesalers expressed concern that the two products looked similar.
“Our first step was to reach out to them,” Daley continues. “We hoped to handle it amicably. We had no desire to file a lawsuit against a fellow brewer. We thought we had made a lot of progress with West Sixth. They agreed in principle to modify their design. And now they’re going back on their word and are attempting to tarnish our image instead.”
In letters proposing a resolution to avoid a court case, Daley says West Sixth Brewing agreed to:
1. Remove the design element that mirrors Magic Hat’s #9 starburst/dingbat star packaging;
2. Use and promote the wording West Sixth Brewing in conjunction with the design (Magic Hat agrees that this will help eliminate confusion);
3. Work in good faith to phase out and replace any existing materials that may contain the prior version of the encircled “6” design;
4. Amend its current federal trademark application or re-file the application with the new design.
“After months of working with them, they abruptly changed their minds and refused to take the simplest steps to avoid confusion and a lawsuit,” says Daley. “Unfortunately, we have no other option but to pursue legal action that protects the uniqueness of our brand. We notified West Sixth Brewing and they immediately began a smear campaign to pressure us to drop the lawsuit. This is all very unfortunate since they could have prevented it by living up to the commitments they made.”
According to the first posting about this lawsuit, West Sixth says they tried to reach out to Magic Hat several times to amicably resolve the issue but got no response. Today on Facebook, they said they finally heard from them, but not directly. Here’s an excerpt of the response from West Sixth to Magic Hat:
“You claim that you worked for months in good faith to negotiate with us. Actually, in our letters, which you’ve published, anyone can see that we’ve waited on a reply from you from our last letter for nearly 3 months. In that letter, we made several concessions in the last offer, including to keep the words “West Sixth Brewing” near our logo in any further designs. But instead of responding with a call, or a letter, you responded with a lawsuit. That’s not negotiating, that’s bullying.”
West Sixth is also calling for a public agreement from Magic Hat to drop the lawsuit and are willing to tinker with their logo.
“So, what do you say, let’s bury the hatchet and down a beer together? We’d greatly appreciate a response as quick as yesterday’s this time — no 3 month wait this time, please.”