Bluegrass Brewing Co. sues Cafepress over 'beer is food' slogan - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bluegrass Brewing Co. sues Cafepress over 'beer is food' slogan

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Local microbrewery Bluegrass Brewing Co. filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that Louisville-based Cafepress has continually violated its rights by selling t-shirts and other items containing BBC's trademark phrase, “beer is food.”

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville, says BBC first discovered items with the “beer is food” trademark being offered for sale on Cafepress.com in 2009, and again on two instances in January 2015.

Cafepress, which fulfills orders out of large warehouse in Jefferson Riverport, allows users to customize and order t-shirts, coffee mugs and dozens of other products through its website.

BBC, which was founded in 1993 and has three Louisville brewpubs, came up with the “beer is food” slogan in 1999 and registered its trademarks on it with the U.S. government in 2005 (for use in restaurants and bars) and in 2006 (for clothing such as t-shirts and hats), according to the lawsuit, filed by Louisville attorneys Brian McGraw and Bob Donald.

“Once you have a trademark, you have to protect it or let go of it,” said Pat Hagan, who owns BBC along with his father, Monte. “It's something we have used for a long time, so it's something we want to keep.”

Hagan said it was a former partner of his, Sarah Ring, who coined the phrase. “I don't know how she came up with it, but we just started putting it on things, and my attorney said, ‘You probably ought to copyright that.'”

Cafepress spokeswoman Sarah Segal said the suit's allegations are "without merit."

"CafePress is an e-commerce service that enables third-party users to post images and sell products online. We operate our service in compliance with applicable laws, including all relevant trademark laws, and will respond to the allegations accordingly," Segal said in a prepared statement.

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