A brewery in Midlothian has taken legal action against multinational pub chain BrewDog over the name of one of its newest beers.
In June 2022, Jump Ship Brewing launched its Chuckleberry Sour beer called Shore Leave.
Around a year later, the company’s founder Sonja Mitchell said she was shocked to discover BrewDog had released designs for a new drink under the same name – with a proposed slogan that read ‘Time to Jump Ship’.
Sonja said: “When you’re big, sometimes you just don’t notice the smaller guys underfoot and that’s why I’m making a stand here because we’ve worked really hard to achieve what we have.
“We’re in the middle of installing a brewery, we’ve put a lot of work into the Shore Leave beer. That’s something that we want to protect.”
“Their response was to offer a collaboration, which we felt did little to clear up any of the confusion in our beers having the same name, when actually what we want to do at this point is put a clear distance between our two brands.”
Jump Ship is now taking legal action at the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, aimed at stopping Aberdeenshire-based BrewDog being able to sell its version of Shore Leave.
The court process could take more than a year.
Kirsty Stewart, a partner in Thorntons’ Intellectual Property team, said: “What you need to be able to show is the trade marks are similar to each other, the goods and services are similar, but also that the consumers are likely to be confused between the two.
“So, are they likely to think there’s some sort of association between the two businesses or are they just likely to be confused in general as to why there’s kind of similar marks out there in the market place.”
A spokesperson for BrewDog said: “As the registered owner of the Shore Leave trademark in the UK, we are obviously surprised at this action, but also disappointed. Ms Mitchell might have challenged our trademark application months ago as is standard practice, but chose not to.
“We’ve sought to settle this matter amicably and offered a range of fantastic collab ideas, which would have had a huge boost for Ms Mitchell’s brewery. We even agreed not to use the phrase ‘Jump Ship’ in our advertising as a gesture of goodwill.
“We’d much rather work with the industry than against it. We regret Ms Mitchell has decided to take this action instead of working collaboratively with us to help her business grow.”
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