Originally Posted by jmo88
Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think Georgetown distributes anywhere Magic Hat distributes. I've heard of Magic Hat but have never seen it here in Seattle. This whole thing seem pointless considering this. A customer could never be put into a situation where they could have the opportunity to confuse the two.
I don't think whether or not Magic Hat distributes in the area that Georgetown does really matters or not. It's not whether or not there's two taps at a bar and one #9 and one 9lb and a customer orders a 9lb while intending to get a #9. It's about whether or not a given customer could confuse the two somehow. Magic Hat does not need to distribute in a given area for the confusion to occur.
Rough example - person from the east coast takes a vacation to the west coast and sees a handle with a big "9" on it. He thinks "Oh they serve magic hat here, I like that and am going to get it" he orders the nine and gets a 9lb instead of a #9. Georgetown basically profited off of Magic Hat's trademark in this case because the trade marks are too similar for the products and caused confusion over the brands. Not to mention Magic Hat could conceivably start doing business in the area that Georgetown does business.
Trade marks are a federal issue so a trade mark violation certainly can occur in a given area even if the organization in question does not do business in that area.
I'm as against the big guy using their power to beat up on the little guy as the next person. That said, that doesn't mean that the big guy is always wrong. I loathe companies using vagaries of trade mark law to beat up and intimidate smaller companies especially if those violations are baseless (I try very hard not to do business with Monster Cable because of this), but I just don't think that it's the case here.