If 6 Was 9

Published June 17, 2013

Also on the food front, you just knew this was going to happen back when Budweiser®, Schlitz®, and Pabst Blue Ribbon® brand beers became no longer good enough for the cognoscenti and everybody started getting into microbrews: more brands, more logos, and sooner or later the marketing people will start running out of ideas.

South Burlington, Vermont-based Magic Hat Brewing Company is suing West Sixth Brewing Company of Lexington, Kentucky, for employing a “confusingly similar” trademark. Along with a star and some other design features in its logo, pictured above right, Magic Hat uses the Arabic numeral “9.” West Sixth, as its name might suggest, uses a “6,” as shown above left.

And what does a “6” look like when a beer drinker turns a bottle upside down? Why, of course, a “9.”

In response to cease-and-desist letters and a social media war that has spilled over to the company’s Facebook pages, West Sixth reportedly offered to change the star (or “compass”) to the right of the “6” in its logo and to make some other changes in order to avoid a lawsuit, but was not willing to stop using the numeral “6,” hence the trademark infringement suit.

Maybe the companies could settle it over some Doritos®-flavored tacos over at Taco Bell. After paying Colorado’s Mr. Cole a royalty, of course.

Source: Kevin Underhill, “Does ‘6’ Infringe on ‘9’? What If It’s Upside Down?”  Lowering the Bar, May 24, 2013