Lucasfilm Challenges Brewery’s “Empire Strikes Bock” Trademark Application
Lucasfilm Ltd. has filed a notice of opposition to Walton Street Brewing Corp.’s application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to register “Empire Strikes Bock” as a mark. Lucasfilm argues that the name will cause confusion with and dilute goods related to its 1980 film”The Empire Strikes Back,” which, as Bloomberg BNA notes, is not associated with any active trademarks but may be famous enough to be protected under common law. The production company also claims that granting the “Bock” trademark will cause confusion with its existing mark—Skywalker Vineyards—in the alcohol industry. In an irreverent video response, Walton Street’s owner explains that the brewery has sold “Bock” on tap at its pub for several years and now intends to bottle it, and it never intended to cause any confusion with its “parody” beer. In the background, a person in a Stormtrooper costume appears to stir beer with a lightsaber, and the video concludes with the director of brewing operations appearing to speak “Wookiee,” while the assertion that USPTO approved the trademark’s registration in June 2014 is displayed below. See Bloomberg BNA, October 29, 2014.