Stone Brewing has filed suit in federal court, charging brewing giant MillerCoors with trademark infringement in marketing Keystone Light beer.
MillerCoors revamped Keystone Light packaging last April, emphasizing the word “Stone” on the side of its cans. “Keystone’s new can design overtly copies and infringes the Stone trademark,” Stone stated in the lawsuit. In a social media campaign and in advertising at various websites Keystone is referred to simply as Stone. “Such mass advertising broadcasts the infringing ‘Stone’ name beyond Keystone’s immediate social media audience to the general public at large,” the suit says.
Stone also posted a four-minute video featuring co-founder Greg Koch.
“You can end all of this right here and now by one simple move that reinforces your brand that you’ve built,” Koch said in the video. “Put the ‘Key’ back in ‘Keystone.’ Stop using Stone as a stand-alone word. It’s ours.”
As well as asking for the court to stop MillerCoors from using “Stone” in connection with the sale and distribution of the Keystone beer, Stone Brewing is seeking damages and profits from the sale of the rebranded Keystone products.
“This lawsuit is a clever publicity stunt with a multi-camera, tightly-scripted video featuring Stone’s founder Greg Koch,” Marty Maloney, MillerCoors media relations manager said in a statement. “Since Keystone’s debut in 1989, prior to the founding of Stone Brewing in 1996, our consumers have commonly used ‘Stone’ to refer to the Keystone brand and we will let the facts speak for themselves in the legal process.”