German Brew Masters, Duff Beer UG, are putting News Corp’s Twentieth Century Fox’s (“TCF”) European trademarks for “Duff” to the test. In a recent suit filed by Duff Beer UG, the actual beer maker, which does not have anything to do with The Simpsons, is asking a European court to reverse a previous decision, by the EU trademark office, that the beer maker could not register “Duff.”
Is it fair to say that it is a little absurd that a trademark exists for a fictional beer? Don’t get me wrong, the Simpsons has made me chuckle for a long time now, but seriously? I’m no expert on EU trademark law, but I would have to assume that it is somewhat similar to U.S. trademark law. If not, I apologize. So, how is it that TCF was able to allege use of their mark for beer? Are they selling their “Duff” beer in commerce? I’ve never bought one (though that would be awesome).
It doesn’t seem to be crazy that TCF could come out on top. In 1996, TCF was able to cease an Australian beer distributer from “cheersing” their “Duff” beer. I did a quick google search to make sure that TCF isn’t selling “Duff” beer. In doing so, I came across an article in which they claim that the creator of the Simpsons, Matt Groening, is against making a real beer called “Duff” because it would encourage kids to drink.
It will be fun to see which way the European court goes with this one. Here is to the weekend. Cheers.