Anheuser-Busch must be invoking the spirit of Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene in their trademark dispute over the family of beers named after him. According to James Hastings of Cohen IP Intellectual Property Law, the brewing conglomerate is opposing the trademark application of a North Carolina brewer with the mark Natty Greene, saying it conflicts with their family of Natty marks.
Last week, they filed a notice of opposition at the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, alleging “consumers are likely to be confused into believing” that the Natty Greene mark “is associated, affiliated, or sponsored by Anheuser-Busch,” says Cohen.
But that’s not the extent of their opposition. In what Cohen asserts is a “bold move,” Busch is claiming dilution by blurring, and insists their Natty beers are famous enough that the applicant’s beer will impair “the distinctiveness of the famous mark.”
To support this, Anheuser-Busch says it has sold millions of dollars worth of the beer and invested likewise in marketing and promotions for products, reports Cohen. However, the marketing may not have paid off as well as it would have hoped. Urban Dictionary defines Natty Ice as “a trailer-trash beer that no one would drink if it wasn’t so cheap and didn’t have a little bit higher alcohol content than the standard.”