201905.10
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For Guns N’ Roses it isn’t all Rosé

Guns N’ Roses, the legendary rock band, is suing the Oskar Blues Brewery for trade mark infringement in the US.

Like most musicians the iconic rock band owns a great many trademarks for various images and phrases associated with it, including, of course, “Guns N’ Roses”. In 2018 when the Oskar Blues Brewery began selling a pale ale that it had named “Guns ‘N’ Rosé” there was no immediate reaction. That may have been because the band did not know it was happening. However, the brewery then attempted to register a trademark for the beer’s name.

The band did not sue at the time but reached out informally and the brewery withdrew the application. It did not, however, agree to stop selling the beer, which is still being sold today: and the brewery has no plans to stop until 2020 at the earliest. Consequently, Guns N’ Roses has commenced proceedings for infringement of its eponymous trade mark.

The alleged infringement goes a lot further than just the name of the beer: the band alleges that a series of other merchandise bearing the “Guns ‘N’ Rosé” sign is also being sold, including hats, t-shirts, bandanas and pint-glasses.

This is a classic allegation of “coattails” infringement, which occurs where a party notices a brand with a substantial following and attempts to ride the wave of popularity by associating its own product(s) with that established name. As far as we can tell the brewery has made no public comment about the allegations, and we will have to wait and see how the matter plays out.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.