Beer boffins have enlisted some high-powered legal help to fight one of New Zealand’s brewing giants over a trade mark.
The Society of Beer Advocates (Soba) has filed a legal application to invalidate DB Breweries’ trade-marking of the beer term “radler”.
The move comes after a leading firm of patent attorneys, James & Wells Intellectual Property, waded into the brewing industry stoush, originally reported in the Waikato Times on April 4, by offering the services of its specialist intellectual property litigation group on a pro-bono basis.
Earlier this year DB Breweries forced the small entrepreneurial Green Man Brewery to stop using the generic term radler and re-label its bottles, because it had trade-marked the name in New Zealand in 2003.
DESPITE some magnificent efforts from brewery public relations people over the past six months, I haven’t been able to get excited about the Speight’s Great Beer Delivery.
Worse, they’ve dressed it up as something positive. In their PR bumf they described this move as part of “exciting new changes to the Speight’s craft range” and spoke of “a renewed focus on-premise for Speight’s Porter, Speight’s Pale Ale and Speight’s Pilsner”.
Translation: “We’ve just made some bloody good beers impossible to buy for thousands of punters.”
So here is an idea for the PR trouts at Speight’s. (Don’t pay me, it’s free).
Why not take advantage of a gap in the market? Organise a boat trip down the Waikato River, or have a few draught horses cart some Speight’s Pilsner and Porter in from the south, to the accompaniment of big- time radio promotions, CD releases, live satellite feeds, and competition to find mates willing to help out fellow mates with good beer taste who are trapped in the Waikato. This would be called the Speight’s Great Hamilton Beer Delivery, in which our heroes seek to satisfy the the thirsts of beer enthusiasts jaded by the shortage of quality brews.