Sycamore Brewing versus Stone Brewing Over “Keep it Juicy” Phrase on PackagingApril 28, 2022

Stone Brewing might have to change its marketing and packaging around its popular Hazy IPA beer. On April 21, The District Court for the Western District of North Carolina granted Sycamore Brewing’s request for Stone Brewing to stop using the phrase “keep it juicy” on their boxes of Hazy IPA beer. This case centered on a trademark infringement of the phrase “keep it juicy”, owned by Sycamore Brewing. U.S. Reg. No. 6,464,651. Last month, Stone Brewing started adding “keep it juicy” to the bottom flap of their boxes, on their website, and in video advertising of their Hazy IPA beer.

To establish trademark infringement, Sycamore Brewing had to show that (1) it has a valid trademark; (2) its mark can be protected; and (3) the defendant’s use of an imitation is likely to cause consumer confusion. 15 U.S.C. § 1114(a). Sycamore’s registered trademark proved the first and second points, yet the trademark “keep it juicy” was not “conclusive evidence”. The Court concluded that the trademark “keep it juicy” was unique enough to “connote, rather than describe” Sycamore’s Juiciness IPA. The last point of consumer confusion has a multitude of relevant factors that the Court balances to determine trademark infringement, such as similarity of the marks, similarity of the goods, and actual confusion. See Shakespeare Co. v. Silstar Corp. of Am., 110 F.3d 234, 241 (4th Cir. 1997). The Court focused on the fact that the marks were astonishingly similar because they were both describing an India Pale Ale craft beer. Moreover, both Sycamore’s Juiciness IPA and Stone’s Hazy IPA are stored in close proximity in stores and the mark is placed as a prominent part of the boxes. Ultimately, the Court determined that they favored granting the preliminary injunction for Sycamore Brewing.

Sycamore Brewing’s Juiciness IPA                               Stone Brewing’s Hazy IPA

Sycamore Brewing_ LLC v. Stone Brewing Co._ LLC_ 2022

Ashley Holland is an intellectual property attorney in the MVS Biotechnology and Chemical Practice Group. To learn more, visit our MVS website, or contact Ashley directly via email.

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