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Friday, October 26, 2007

Sam Adams Trademark Dispute: The Last Roundup

Hey, when something like this comes along, you gotta ride it as long as you can. (For those who are now long disinterested, I have a Green Dragon review in the hopper for later today.) So, where do we stand now?

It looks like Boston Beer has realized what a blunder it was sending out the letter (the original of which is now available on eBay.) The company's current line:
A spokeswoman for Boston Beer called the Law Blog and said they never had an issue with the mayoral candidate using his name but they do have an issue with the radio station using Sam Adams for its own business purposes.
A reader of Jack Bogdanski's blog actually got a reply from the company after shooting off an email. The company repeated the line above, but added (with appropriately increasing humility):
While we understand that kicking up a controversy makes good radio, I hope you'll understand that it was never our intent to thwart the efforts of Councilor Sam Adams in his run for Mayor. We have no issue with him using his own name. A more extensive Google search on our part for “Sam Adams Mayor” was in order and might have turned up information about the race for Mayor in Portland before we sent off that letter.
Google search--there's an idea. Jack adds: "People who brand their companies with a very, very, very common name have to live with the consequences. Letting supporters of a real politician named Sam Adams express their support for him with an appropriately named web domain or two is just something that Boston Beer is going to have to live with."

Meanwhile, an anemic internet petition is underway, unneccesarily.

From a more beery perspective, I've been interested to see that Bostonians aren't backing the home company. In fact, it looks like most Bostonians don't even regard Boston Beer as a native product--at least as far as blog commenters go, Sam Adams is a national beer they drink only when Harpoon's not available. It's not exactly a parallel, but Widmer suffers this perception locally, too. Interesting how a national profile hurts you among locals. Anyway, check out the commentary at Universal Hub, Bostonist (where the blogger described Sam Adams the candidate as "kinda dreamy"), Boston Herald (check the photo), and Boston Daily.

Finally, the Beer Advocate also has a discussion thread that gives you a sense of what the level of blowback is likely to be.

I'll only return to the story if something substantive actually happens.

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