BrewDog blocks 'Draft Punk' pub plans

This is the second business this week to complain about legal threats from the Scottish craft beer company...

BrewDog blocks 'Draft Punk' pub plans

BrewDog / Facebook

A second pub this week has accused BrewDog of forcing it to change its name.

In this case, Tony Green reports that he was issued with an "intimidating" legal letter when he tried to open a bar in Leeds called Draft Punk.

Brewdog has trademarked the word 'Punk' in relation to beer - its flagship brew is called Punk IPA.

"They can’t own punk, that’s the whole point ... It’s inherited, it’s British culture," he told The Guardian.

While it does not have the name trademarked in relation to pubs - its legal team argued that use of the word for a non-BrewDog establishment would cause problems for consumers.

"Our client is very concerned that provision of food and drink services under the mark Draft Punk would give rise to a likelihood of confusion in the marketplace, including a likelihood of association with our client’s earlier mark Punk," its legal representative Lawrie IP said.

"I just thought whatever, we can think of another name. But how dare you own that word, you can’t have it. You’ll get no sob story from us but they were just nasty and heavy-handed from start to finish," Mr Green added. His plans to open the pub never came to fruition.

This story comes days after BrewDog apologised to the pub formerly know as The Lone Wolf (now just The Wolf) which changed its name after receiving a legal letter from the Scottish craft brewing company which is launching a spirit company with the same name.

Fake brews

"In terms of the apparent ‘Draft Punk’ bar in Leeds, this is just opportunistic lies combined with inaccurate journalism. There was no bar here, and no ‘cease and desist’ from our side. The other party tried to register ‘Draft Punk’ as a trademark, but we own the ‘Punk’ trademark for beer, so naturally we objected as that is one of our trademarks," BrewDog commented in a blog post titled, 'Please Don't steal Our Trademarks.'

"The Guardian article in question quotes Tony Green as saying 'They can’t own punk, that’s the whole point' – this is pretty ironic given that they were trying to register Punk," it continued.

The company argued that allowing another firm to register 'Draft Punk' could result in the trademark being "sold to AB-InBev the next day."

In relation to The Lone Wolf issue, it reports that it registered the trademark in 2015 - long before the pub opened in 2017.

On Monday BrewDog apologised for issuing a legal threat to the pub and offered it discounted spirits - The Wolf did not accept the apology.

The beer company argues, "If you do not protect your trademarks then you risk forfeiting them entirely. People criticising us for defending our trademark is like people criticising us for not letting someone walk into our offices and steal our computers."

"Just because we are a living wage employer, just because we share our profits with our teams, just because we are part owned by our Equity Punk community does not mean we should not protect our trademarks," the statement concluded.