Beer Company Says Texas Should Not Intervene in “Alamo” Trademark Case

Alamo Beer Co. objected to a US Magistrate Judge’s recommendation that the state of Texas be allowed to intervene in a dispute involving “Alamo” trademarks.
The Alamo Mission is an iconic site located in San Antonio, Texas. In 1836, following a 13-day siege, it fell to Mexican troops and all the “Texian” defenders, including Davy Crockett, were killed. The battle inspired many to join the Texian cause, and the Texians defeated the Mexican Army later the same year.
Alamo Beer, based in San Antonio, sued Old 300 Brewing LLC, doing business as Texian Brewing Co., based in Rosenburg, Texas over the latter’s use of a silhouette of the Alamo on its products.
Alamo sought an injunction against Texian’s use of the image and also sought cancellation of its trademark registration for a logo that includes the silhouette.
Texian began using the logo on its products in 2011 or 2012. The tops of Texian’s tap handles (for beer on tap) are also carved into the silhouette of the Alamo.
Alamo contacted Texian about the matter on May 22, 2013. Texian allegedly failed to respond to the email and filed its trademark application the next day. The mark was registered in January of 2014.
Alamo apparently failed to oppose Texian’s proposed mark when it was published.
Alamo Beer has used the silhouette as part of its own logo since 1997 and obtained a trademark for the word “Alamo,” used in connection with beers and other beverages, in 1998. However, it did not register the image of the Alamo as part of its logo.
Texas filed a motion to intervene in the dispute, saying that the mark belongs to the state.
Texas claims that its interests in the “Alamo” mark may be harmed by the lawsuit. According to its motion,
The State of Texas is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede The State of Texas’s ability to protect its interest in marks which include the word ‘ALAMO’ or a representation of the Alamo Mission.
In a 15-page report, the Magistrate Judge agreed with Texas, saying
It seems clear there is a common question between the state’s claim of ownership of the Alamo marks and Alamo Beer’s claims of infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin by Texian’s use of the Alamo marks.

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