4
Aug/11

Budweiser Sues Union For 'Budweiser Is Tasteless' Campaigh


Heidelberg is a multi-brand beverage distributor.  It’s in contract negotiations with the Teamsters, who began a publicity campaign in connection with the discussions, in which campaign the union refers to Heidelberg as ‘Budweiser’s Distributor.’  The union put up highway billboards that say: “Tell Budweiser Heidelberg’s Destruction of Ohio Jobs Is Tasteless.”  From a distance (while driving on a highway), the signs read “Budweiser is Tasteless” (see above).  Anheuser Busch now sues the union for trademark dilution and related torts, alleging that it doesn’t own or control Heidelberg, that Heidelberg is not A-B’s exclusive distributor,  and that Bud has not been involved in the contract dispute (actually, getting A-B involved is the likely objective of the campaign).

So, with regard to dilution, is the union making trademark use? (see, e.g., Lamparello v. Falwell).

As for defamation, what statement should the court analyze?  ‘Budweiser is Tasteless’ or ‘Tell Budweiser Heidelberg . . . ” or both?

 Complaint Budweiser is Tasteless

 

 

One Response to “Budweiser Sues Union For 'Budweiser Is Tasteless' Campaigh”

  1. Actually, truth is a defense, and even assuming that “tasteless” refers to the beer rather than the labor relations conduct, by my lights, compared to the good microbrew beers one can easily find around these days, Budweiser really IS tasteless