November 03, 2014

Episode II: The Empire Brewing Strikes Back

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I reported to you that Lucasfilm, Ltd., filed an opposition to Walton Street Brewing Corp.'s application to register the mark EMPIRE STRIKES BOCK for ale and beer. Actually, it was just last week. Since then, Walton Street Brewing Corp., which goes by "Empire Brewing Company" has unleashed its light saber and is striking back.

Though Walton Street Brewing hasn't yet filed a formal Answer to the Notice of Opposition, on Halloween, it posted a cryptic online video. In the video, Walton Street Brewing states that it was "never its intention" to cause confusion with The Empire Strikes Back movie, and confirms that Bock is the generic term for a strong type of German lager.

While Walton Street Brewing's owner is delivering this message, someone wearing a Stormtrooper costume appears in the back of the video stirring a vat of beer with his light saber. Owner David Katleski states, "We are huge Star Wars fans. We hope Lucasfilm will come to recognize 'Strikes Bock' as a parody." At the end of the video, Walton Street's director of brewing operations does an impression of Chewbacca, and the credits include a sub-heading stating that the USPTO approved the application for EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in June 2014.

Though humorous, this video won't suffice as a response to the Notice of Opposition filed by Lucasfilm. Walton Street Brewing will still be required to file a formal response with the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board on or before November 24, 2014. The force is strong with this one.

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