Pull up a seat and grab a cold one as the public fight between Stone Brewing and Local Pioneers is continuing to heat up. In April of 1996, the Stone Brewing Co. (Stone Brewing) filed its first trademark application for STONE. The registration covers its “beers and ales” that the company brews. Since its humble start, Stone Brewing has grown into a national craft beer brand and is the ninth-largest independent craft brewer in the United States. Over the years, Stone Brewing has continued to use and enforce its trademark rights and has continually expanded its business considerably to multiple locations and seasonal beers.

Stone Brewing is No Stranger to Litigation

A brief search of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) Inquiry System returned 22 results for current proceedings pending before the TTAB and over 80+ proceedings terminated in which the Stone Brewing Co. was a party.

Furthermore, back in the beginning of 2018, Stone Brewing filed a lawsuit against the Molson Coors Beverage Company, known for its Coors and Keystone beer brands. The lawsuit alleged that when Keystone changed its packaging to more prominently display the STONE part of its KEYSTONE trademark, it infringed on Stone Brewing’s trademark rights. The case is slated to go to trial later this fall.

The SAWSTONE BREWING CO. Trademark and Pending Cancellation Proceeding

In July of 2018, Local Pioneers, LLC filed a trademark application for SAWSTONE BREWING CO. for “beer.” Started in 2019, Local Pioneers began brewing beer and created a venue for experiencing a variety of unique ales and lagers. Shortly after Local Pioneers began operating in Kentucky, Stone Brewing filed a trademark cancellation proceeding against Local Pioneers, seeking to cancel its registration.

In its pleadings, Stone Brewing alleged that it is and will continue to be injured and damaged because its trademarks are likely to be confused with Local Pioneers SAWSTONE BREWING CO trademark. As a result, Stone Brewing is seeking to cancel the Local Pioneers mark.

The Heated Online Battle

While this might seem like your traditional company vigorously enforcing its intellectual property rights, this case draws particular attention because of the highly public turn of events. In particular, there have been several allegations of cyberstalking and harassment. Specifically, Greg Koch, one of the founders of Stone Brewing, posted a lengthy blog post entitled In response to the wildly irresponsible actions of local pioneers / Sawstone Brewing. In the post, Koch details Stone Brewing’s side of the story—even going as far as accusing the Local Pioneers of threatening “to ramp up this harassment campaign unless [Stone Brewing] walk away from [its] rightful trademark defense.”

Conclusion

We will leave a tab open on this case to see if the parties can amicably come together and reach a mutual agreement. A substantial majority of cancellation proceedings settle before reaching the end of the case; however, with parties this dug in, it will be interesting to see if that happens.

If not, will the TTAB find that consumers are likely to be confused and cancel the registration of the trademark? Only time will tell, but for now, pour another cold one and enjoy the weekend.