Lagunitas Drops IPA Label Lawsuit Against Sierra Nevada after Social Media Backlash

After backlash on Twitter, Lagunitas founder Tony Magee decided not to proceed with the lawsuit against Sierra Nevada
Lagunitas Drops IPA Label Lawsuit Against Sierra Nevada after Social Media Backlash
Sierra Nevada/Lagunitas

“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,” Magee wrote on Twitter. “Can I say thanks?”

As we’ve previously reported, American breweries have been  accidentally infringing on each other’s beer names and design elements left and right, and often having to settle the matter through legal channels. In 2013, for instance, Lagunitas Brewing Co. ceded the numbers “420” on many of its bottles to SweetWater Brewing Co., which had been brewing 420 Extra Pale Ale for two decades.

Recently, Lagunitas itself launched a trademark infringement lawsuit against Sierra Nevada, claiming that the label of Sierra Nevada’s Hop Hunter IPA too closely resembled Lagunitas’ flagship IPA.

According to court documents:

“The unique “IPA” lettering used in the Lagunitas “IPA” Family of Trademarks has a distinctive serif font, distinctive kerning (or letter spacing), between the “P” and the “A”, slightly aged or weathered look, with uneven areas on each of the letters, and the elimination of any periods between the letters. These elements together are unique to the iconic design of the Lagunitas IPA.”

Lagunitas’ founder Tony Magee argued that Sierra Nevada’s label would potentially suggest a collaboration between the two companies when there was none, or otherwise harm the Lagunitas brand.

However, following backlash from several consumers on Twitter,where Magee had been chronicling some of the lawsuit proceedings:

the company founder later announced that he had opted to drop the suit, admitting that he had been “seriously schooled” and understood that many of his customers did not support the suit. 

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