By Stephanie Collins – editor Beer & Brewer

A split decision was the result of the recent Trade Mark Office hearing that saw Thunder Road Brewing challenge CUB over their ongoing trade marks on heritage brands.

Of the 59 trade marks that were challenged CUB was permitted to retain 49, while 10 had their trade marks removed.

According to CUB’s On Premise Sales Director Paul Donaldson, while no one at the company was “high-fiving”, the company was pleased that their brands had been protected.

“CUB is passionate about its heritage brands and we release them to give pubs a point of difference and to allow people to reminisce about iconic brews of the past,” he said.

The main point of contention from Thunder Road Brewing is that CUB holds a raft of trade marks that it absorbed when older, long forgotten breweries were bought out decades ago.

“Most consumers can only name three or four beers produced by CUB – yet they currently have over 400 trade marks that appear on the Australian register,” said Thunder Road in a public statement.

CUB maintains that they have been using the brands in what they call their ‘heritage program’, and, regardless, they are integral to the history of CUB.

“These brands have been on and off the market for at least the six years that I’ve been here, so we do them around different events and launches,” says Donaldson. “It’s funny how as time goes on, the old suddenly become cool again – brands that were a bit daggy for a while are now ‘retro’ and everyone thinks they’re discovering them.”

However, Thunder Road contests that it is only due to the “Registrar’s discretion”, and not use of the brands or trademarks, that CUB was permitted to retain said trade marks.

“We continue to believe that CUB’s control of geographical place names for beer, like Richmond, Ballarat, Brisbane, and Cairns is unfair and wrong,” Thunder Road’s statement continues. “We feel strongly this banking up of trade marks prevents us, and others in the industry from using place names if we so chose for a beer that will actually get produced and distributed.”

Both sides are claiming victory in the decision, with CUB declaring that its brands had been protected, while Thunder Road views the decision as a vindication of their efforts to challenge the multinational brewer.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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