WHEN you ask for your favourite Pacific Ale, be sure to specify the maker, after Byron Bay's Stone & Wood lost their case to stop a Melbourne firm's Belgium brew from using the same name.
On Friday March 9, the Full Federal Court dismissed an appeal by Stone & Wood against a 2016 judgment which found they had not proven competitors, rival Elixir's Thunder Road, had infringed their registered trademark, which carries the words 'Pacific Ale'.
It's move is sure to upset fans of the Northern Rivers company, who brews its beer locally while Melbourne-based Elixir has its Thunder Road Pacific Ale bottled in Belgium.
This decision was upheld by a panel of three senior judges including the court's most senior wig, Chief Justice James Allsop AO, with Justice Victor Nicholas and Justice Anna Katzmann, who disagreed with their appeal submissions and ordered Stone & Wood to pay Elixir's legal fees.
Stone & Wood co-founder Jamie Cook said the appeal was not about victory or loss, it was about the principal.
"This judgement is the closure of just one chapter in what has been a long drawn out process of us protecting our IP (intellectual property)," he said.
"It wasn't about winning or losing, it was about making a stand on behalf of our community - team, customers, drinkers and suppliers - it was about making a stand for originality and creativity."
Mr Cook said there are a lot of businesses in this industry that search for new spaces and create new directions.
"It's fine for the rest of the industry to capitalise on the momentum created by that if it's done in a respectful way," he said.
"We also understand it's a cluttered market and occasionally we, as an industry, unknowingly step on each other's toes. In those situations, we can usually sort it out brewer to brewer."
Mr Cook said Stone & Wood has demonstrated an ability to do just that in the past.
"We changed our branding when we accidentally used a beer name that had been used by another brewer, our stance is about trying to maintain a respectful industry," he said.
"Meanwhile, we are now left with continuing our efforts to have our IP protected via the trade mark process, by dealing with the current opposition to the Pacific Ale Trade Mark registration which will take some time to resolve."
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