Brewer and bar firm BrewDog has responded to criticism about the legal steps it took to protect its trademark brands, by saying that it was simply looking after its business and team. However, it admitted that it made a mistake with regards one action it initiated.
In a blog post published on its website, written by James Watt, the founder of the maverick company based in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, said that any business, anywhere in the world, will protect the trademark of its flagship product.
“If you do not protect your trademarks then you risk forfeiting them entirely,” he said. “People criticising us for defending our trademark is like people criticising us for not letting someone walk into our offices and steal our computers.”
Watt’s comments were published after the company received a barrage of criticism on social media after it sent letters to two businesses which planned to use the names of trademarked BrewDog products.
A legal warning was sent to Joshua and Sallie McFadyen, brother and sister operators of the Wolf pub in Birmingham, who wanted to change the name of their business Lone Wolf in January this year. BrewDog had paid for and trademarked Lone Wolf as a spirit two years earlier.
Watt said that the company was wrong to take action against the McFadyens as their stance was not detrimental to BrewDog’s business.
“As soon as I found out, I reversed the decision and offered to cover all of the costs of the bar,” he explained. “I also invited them up to Ellon to make their own gin with us.”
However, with regards plans by music promoter Tony Green to open a bar in Leeds called Draft Punk, named after the French dance music act Daft Punk, Watt said that BrewDog had responded to Green’s attempts to register Draft Punk as a trademark as the company owns the Punk trademark for beer.
“If we did not object they could have registered Punk and sold it to AB-InBev the next day, and then we could have been driven out of business,” he explained, adding that BrewDog would not apologise for protecting its flagship brands.
“Just because we are a living wage employer, just because we share our profits with our teams, just because we are part owned by our Equity Punk community does not mean we should not protect our trademarks. Every company does.”
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