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MillerCoors calls Stone Brewing’s trademark infringement lawsuit meritless

DBR Staff Writer Published 12 April 2018

MillerCoors has responded to Stone Brewing’s trademark lawsuit over rebranding of Keystone light beer, calling it as meritless.

In February this year, Stone Brewing filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Diego, alleging that MillerCoors is trying to rebrand its Colorado Rockies-themed Keystone beer as STONE.

In its response, MillerCoors asked the court to grant it the exclusive right to use the Stone mark in conjunction with US beer sales.

The company said  Stone Brewing’s lawsuit is misleading and its meritless claims show that the case is not about trademarks or verbatim copying, but it is about its new identity as a mega-craft beer manufacturer.

Stone Brewing is now one of the biggest craft brewers in the US and its beer is sold in five continents.

“Stone Brewing’s complaint makes grandiose allegations, but leaves out most of the facts relevant to this dispute,” MillerCoors’ filing alleges.

MillerCoors, itself and via its predecessor Coors, has continuously used STONE or STONES in its Keystone advertising and packaging since at least 1995. 

“If anything, it is much more likely that Stone Brewing copied the Stone name from Coors, since Keystone beer was already advertised as such in the market,” the lawsuit said.

MillerCoors’ filing claimed that Stone Brewing’s Complaint also relies on misleading images to support its “verbatim copy” claim and in an attempt to isolate the STONE from KEYSTONE.

MillerCoors said Keystone and Stone Brewing’s beers are not targeted at the same consumers. While Keystone is  an American-Style Light  lager, Stone Brewing’s beer is for those looking for a heavier and hoppy beverage with higher alcohol by volume (ABV).

Packaging from the two brewers is also different. While Keystone is sold in bright blue 15-can and 30-can cases that include a Colorado mountain image, Stone Brewing beers are sold in bottles and on draft and its trade dress has a dark medieval theme centered around a devilish gargoyle character.

Image: Keystone beer can package. Photo: Courtesy of MillerCoors, Chicago, IL.