The company behind Northern California’s Fieldwork Brewing Co. has sued a New Hampshire-based brewery for trademark infringement.
Far West Brewing LLC, which has done business as Fieldwork Brewing since 2015, claims that Newmarket, New Hampshire’s Deciduous Brewing Co. is trampling on its registered ‘Fieldwork’ trademark. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday, Fieldwork claims that Deciduous Brewing has brewed at least a dozen of its own Fieldwork-branded India Pale Ales without permission.
“In addition to causing actual confusion in the market by infringing upon Fieldwork’s Mark and brand for craft beers sales under the name ‘fieldwork,’ Deciduous also uses an image of a leaf as its design or logo that is confusingly similar to Fieldwork’s long-established logo,” wrote Fieldwork’s lawyers at Ad Astra Law Group. The lawsuit claims that Fieldwork officials first learned of Deciduous Brewing’s use of the Fieldwork name this year and that the New Hampshire brewery has promoted its ‘Fieldwork’ line extensively via social media.
The suit says Fieldwork CEO Barry Braden spoke with Deciduous Brewing co-founder Frank Zagami in February to inform him about the Fieldwork trademark and to demand that he stop using the name, but that Deciduous Brewing continued to use it. The complaint also says that Fieldwork attempted to resolve the dispute out of court through counsel in March and April but was unsuccessful. The suit seeks disgorgement of Deciduous Brewing’s profits from its ‘Fieldwork’ sales and an injunction barring the New Hampshire brewery from using the name.
Fieldwork’s Braden referred a request for comment Monday to an outside spokesperson who said the company had no comment at this time. Representatives of Deciduous Brewing didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
As chill as the craft-brewing world might seem, beer branding has generated its fair share of litigation. In Northern California alone, Fort Bragg’s North Coast Brewing Co. earlier this year re-introduced its jazz-inspired “Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale” after settling out of court with the estate of piano great Thelonious Monk in a dispute over the use of his name and likeness. Petuluma-based Lagunitas Brewing Co. sued Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in 2015 claiming it infringed the design of its IPA label, but Lagunitas quickly dropped the suit after a social media backlash.
Read the Fieldwork complaint: