IPA Trademark Suit Gets Beer Community Hoppin’ Mad

Lagunitas founder Tony Magee tweets that he’s dropping his lawsuit against Sierra Nevada

It didn’t take long for Lagunitas and its outspoken founder Tony Magee to realize that their lawsuit against Sierra Nevada over IPA trademark rights seemed like a watered-down joke to much of the beer community.

Lagunitas’ suit, filed Monday, claimed that Sierra Nevada’s new Hop Hunter IPA line copies the big IPA logo Lagunitas said it made famous. Obviously, the term IPA itself should be considered a generic term, short for India Pale Ale, so this is an issue about fonts and design. But it’s an issue that Magee has quickly decided to drop after being savaged on social media. (Sample tweet, from @cubby_swans of craft-beer guide STLHops.com: “[email protected] suit is a slap in the face to its customers. Do you think we’re idiots that are easily confused by dissimilar objects?”)

You can see all of Magee’s emotional tweetstorm from yesterday here, but it culminated in “Today was in the hands of the ultimate court; The Court of Public Opinion and in it I got an answer to my Question; Our IPA’s TM has limits.” and then “I don’t know every answer beforehand, so I feel around for the edges and try to learn. Today I was seriously schooled & I heard you well…” and then “Tomorrow mornin we’ll Drop the Infringement Suit & get back to answering other Questions. I don’t think I was wrong for wanting to know cuz…I had to know the Answer, but the Answer came much sooner than I thought and in a different Court than I thought it would. Can I say thanks?”

At least it’s not hard for this man to get a drink.