Court evidence photo
Budweiser — the same beer company that recently decided to change its name to “America” for the summer, with slogans like “E Pluribus Unum” and “Indivisible since 1776” — is being sued by a Native American tribe.
According to a lawsuit filed by the Lumbee tribe, Budweiser and a local distributor used the Lumbees’ trademarked logo as well as its slogan, “Heritage, Pride, & Strength,” to sell beer across North Carolina, where the tribe is based. The logo has been in use since 2004, and features a circle that “is symbolic of the Circle of Life.”
By using the Lumbee logo and slogan, Budweiser has created “the false impression that the Lumbee tribe is affiliated, connected, or associated with the defendants [Budweiser], or approves of defendants’ products being sold under its logo and slogan,” the lawsuit states.
Furthermore, “use of the Lumbee tribe marks has created a significant amount of actual confusion in the community, including in the minds of some members of the Lumbee tribe, and in the minds of consumers who mistakenly believe that the Lumbee tribe has given defendants permission to use the marks in a way that many members of the tribe find offensive because alcohol abuse is often associated with Native American culture.
“The Lumbee Tribe has been and will continue to be irreparably injured by Defendants’ conduct,” the suit continues. “The Lumbee tribe cannot be adequately compensated for these injuries by monetary remedies alone, and the Lumbee tribe has no adequate remedy at law for defendants’ infringement of its rights.”
In response to the lawsuit, filed June 14, a spokesman for R.A. Jeffreys Distributing Company, the local distributor for Budweiser, said that while the advertising materials “were intended to honor the rich heritage of the Lumbee tribe,” all offending advertisements have since been removed.