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Oct. 27 — A “beer aficionado and home brewer” failed to prove that MillerCoors LLC engaged in false advertising and deceptive practices by trying to pass off its Blue Moon brand as a “craft beer,” the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled Oct. 26.
Plaintiff Evan Parent said that he regularly paid a premium price for Blue Moon because MillerCoors “created the deceptive and misleading impression that Blue Moon is a ‘craft beer.' ” Parent sued MillerCoors for deceptive practices and false advertising on that basis.
Parent said that the listing of “Blue Moon Brewing Co.” as the manufacturer on the beer's packaging was deceptive, as was MillerCoors's use of the trademark “Artfully Crafted” in connection with the beer.
The court found that MillerCoors had registered Blue Moon Brewing Co. as a fictitious business name in California, and therefore was specifically authorized under California law to list it as the manufacturer instead of MillerCoors.
The court also determined that MillerCoors's use of the trademark “Artfully Crafted” was not deceptive, because it was not an affirmative representation about Blue Moon capable of being proven false or reasonably interpreted as a statement of fact.
While the court granted Parent leave to amend his complaint because it “[did] not find it impossible” that Parent could prove deception, it also barred Parent from relying on the Blue Moon Brewing Co. name or the “Artfully Crafted” trademark in an amended claim.
Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel wrote the opinion.
Parent was represented by Robert Craig Clark of Clark & Treglio, San Diego. MillerCoors was represented by Julie L. Hussey of Perkins Coie LLP, San Diego.
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