Ska Brewing battles Maryland's DuClaw over trademark for Euphoria

Categories: Beer Man

Ska_Euphoria.jpg
Ska Brewing has been making its Euphoria Pale Ale since 2005, but the latest trademark dispute involving a Colorado brewery isn't likely to make anyone euphoric.

On Tuesday, the Durango brewery filed a petition at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, asking the agency's trial and appeal board to revoke Maryland-based DuClaw Brewing's rights to the names Euphoria and Euforia on beers. Update: Ska says it made the move after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from DuClaw.

See also:
- Renegade changes the name of Ryeteous IPA after legal threat from Brooklyn's Sixpoint Brewery
- Strange Brewing faces a trademark threat from a Massachusetts homebrew shop
- Left Hand Brewing wages a trademark battle for the word "Nitro"

DuClaw_Euforia.jpg
DuClaw's Euforia logo.
DuClaw, which makes Euforia Toffee Nut Brown Ale, acquired the rights to Euphoria in 2009 and was granted the same for Euforia in 2012. In its petition, Ska says it should have "common law" rights to the name, though, since it was already making and marketing its Euphoria several years earlier.

"[Ska Brewing] is the owner of valid and enforceable common law rights in the mark Euphoria. Since at least as early as November 14, 2005, [Ska] has used the mark Euphoria in commerce in connection with beer and ale," the brewery's attorney, Jennifer Collins of the Ollila Law Group, wrote. "...[Ska] has invested a great deal of time and money in promoting" Euphoria "and is continuing to spend substantial amounts of time and money in the promotion of the same."

Ska "has acquired common law rights in the mark Euphoria having adopted and continuously used the mark in commerce in connection with beer and ale since at
least November 14, 2005," the filing continues. "Thus, [Ska] has priority rights in the Euphoria mark for use in connection with beer and ale, and is and will continue to be damaged by continued registration of the marks sought to be cancelled."

Ska co-founder Dave Thibodeau says he can't comment on the trademark case since it's in court; Collins didn't return a phone call seeking comment.

An attorney representing DuClaw also didn't return an e-mail seeking comment.

DuClaw has been making some version of Euphoria or Euforia since at least 2006, according to reviews on the RateBeer.com web site.

Founded in 1996, DuClaw operates four pubs and makes several beers that have the exact same names, or similar ones, to other well-known beers. These include Black Jack Porter and Sawtooth (which are also names used by Colorado's Left Hand Brewing), Bare Ass (which is used by Silverton Brewing), Consecration (which is used by California's Russian River Brewing), Berseker (which is used by Alaska's Midnight Sun Brewing), and Blackout (which is also used by Great Lakes Brewing in Ohio).

Late last year, Left Hand Brewing filed a petition in trademark court to wrest the the word "nitro" away from another brewer that it claimed hadn't been using it. That case is still pending. Other recent craft-beer trademark disputes in Colorado have involved Strange Brewing, Renegade Brewing, Oskar Blues, Dry Dock and River North Brewery.


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7 comments
Montanaandy
Montanaandy

It will come down to who was using "Euphoria" in commerce first.  What is interesting though is how Du Claw can seek to have exclusive use of "Euphoria" when they now call the beer "Euforia".  They changed the name and abandoned the mark as far as I am concerned.

Craig_Houston
Craig_Houston

Ska is awesome. Euphoria is delicious, especially during winter. Hope they come out on top here.

Holly Elkins
Holly Elkins

Does this DuClaw have any original names for their beers?

Sean Gronbeck
Sean Gronbeck

Durango beer is good. I hope Ska wins. One of the best beers in Colorado. Well Mexican logger and their blonde ale is ace.

Justin0024
Justin0024

I am originally from Maryland and know for a fact that DuClaw Brewing Co. has been brewing Euphoria (now spelled "Euforia") since at least 2003. How do I know? Because I spent a lot of money on that beer alone! Delicious Toffee Nut Brown Ale. Oh how I miss DuClaw Brewing Co.  Come to CO guys!!!

farley
farley

@Holly Elkins Colossus?  Which happens to be a really good beer of theirs. 

farley
farley

@Justin0024 I spend a significant amount of time in DC, and I can tell you that the DuClaw restaurants have really gone downhill (although most of the DuClaw's are in the B'more area). 

The food is bad.  And it seems they are changing the menu every few weeks.

They don't even put up a table in Denver for the GABF.  And you couldn't even get DuClaw in VA (just down the road) until the last couple of years.  Don't hold you breath about them exporting to CO.

Besides, you are in freakin' COLORADO - ground zero for craft beer!!  Stop whining about DuClaw and enjoy the hundreds of better beers produced in CO.

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