Toronto brewery forced to change the name of its beer
But when the microbrewery near Roncesvalles started putting out their globetrotting-inspired “YYZ” Milkshake IPA series (named for Toronto’s airport code) they were slapped with a trademark infringement.
“Since the change from the original name, YYZ→LAX, to a provisional ZZY→LAX, our customers have been puzzled about our apparent inability to spell YYZ, so we felt it necessary to explain the issue to them,” says Juan M. Gonzalez-Calcaneo on behalf of Bandit.
“We looked into challenging the trademark but unfortunately, as a small microbrewery, we simply don’t have the funds or resources to fight this.”
Bandit posted a photo to their Instagram of a letter with names blacked out sent to them by “intellectual property solicitors” on behalf of their client, “the registered owner of the trademark YYZ,” who Bandit only names in the post as “The Big Guys.”
WHAT’S IN A NAME? A lot of you have been wondering about the recent slight name change to our Milkshake IPA travel-inspired series. Turns out, a few weeks back we got some very friendly mail from The Big Guys claiming they own “YYZ”- our fair city’s airport code. Since we don’t have the funds to fight this (we are a MICRObrewery after all), we are “pleased” to introduce our series YY*→ And now you know; so you don’t think we’re a bunch of doofi who can’t spell YYZ.
However, it’s evident from the outpouring of comments on the post that the letter most likely came from Amsterdam Brewery.
So, Amsterdam Brewery (deduced by others based on a search through the trademark database) is issuing Bandit Brewery with a cease & desist for making a beer with YYZ in the name, despite: 1) it being the city's airport code, 2) Amsterdam not even making a "YYZ" beer https://t.co/3Quho5V7CO— ℳatt (@matttomic) April 16, 2018
When reached for comment, Amsterdam President Jim Carefoot noted the brewery has produced some YYZ beers, usually just ones available in their pubs or tap rooms.
He admitted that Amsterdam doesn't own the YYZ trademark as a whole but did register it "in relationship to beer."
Carefoot emphasized that Amsterdam has no desire to damage any ties with "other craft brewers," but suggested the letter was sent because even a rarely-used trademark only has value if protected.
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