No. 39

Empire Strikes Bock

Empire Brewing Company, a small brewery in New York, has found itself up against Lucasfilm, the production company behind Star Wars, in a trade mark dispute.

Bock, a type of strong German lager, has been brewed by Empire for over 7 years but, until now, only on tap. Since deciding to bottle the beer and sell it in shops, Empire filed a trade mark for their brand, “Strikes Bock”.

The dispute is based on the fact that Lucasfilm thinks that Empire’s trade mark will cause confusion for consumers and will dilute the quality of “The Empire Strikes Back” brand since the name of the beer could be used together with the brewery name to create a play on the movie title. Lucasfilm has used their marks in connection with food and beverages in the past which is likely to increase the possible confusion.

Not many companies have the financial resources to take on a battle with a company the size of Lucasfilm, and Empire is no different. Empire has since released a short video message online expressing how they never wanted to cause any confusion with the Star Wars film. It’s a little tongue-in-cheek though as there’s a Stormtrooper in the background using a lightsabre to stir a vat of beer! Check out the video here.