Texas Intervenes in Breweries’ Alamo Trademark Dispute
Texas has filed a motion to intervene in Alamo Beer Co. LLC’s trademark infringement suit against Old 300 Brewing LLC, asserting that the state has the rights to the “Alamo” mark. Alamo Beer Co. LLC v. Old 300 Brewing LLC, No. 14-285 (W.D. Tex., motion filed April 28, 2014). Filed in March 2014, Alamo Beer’s original complaint alleged that Old 300 Brewing (doing business as Texian Brewing Co.) infringed on its mark by using the silhouette of the Alamo on Texian beer labels, which image Alamo Beer has used and federally registered as a trademark for beer labeling since 1997.
Texas argues that it has registered and common law rights to the use of the Alamo Mission’s likeness in commerce. In 2013, the state began registering the Alamo silhouette in a variety of categories, including blankets, apparel, jewelry, leather goods, digital media, packaged foods, and museum services. In the category nearest to the beer labeling at issue, the bottled water market, Texas filed to register the silhouette on April 22, 2014, asserting that its first use in the market dates back to 2011. Rather than arguing the most common standard for trademark disputes—likelihood of consumer confusion—Texas asserts that the Alamo mark is famous, and use of the mark by anyone else in any category would dilute it. “The Alamo is owned by the people of Texas, and the image is also commercialized for the people of Texas—not for private profit,” Jim Suydam, press secretary of the Texas General Land Office, told Law360. See U.S. Trademark Serial No. 86259263 (Registration pending); Law360, March 28, 2014 and April 30, 2014.