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The Fate of the Moose Trademark Is In a Syracuse Court

Last year, one of the most iconic animals in the Adirondacks, the moose, was at the center of a trademark lawsuit between two brewing companies – Lake George’s Adirondack Pub & Brewery and Canadian company Moosehead Breweries. The lawsuit was filed by Moosehead Breweries, and now, the battle over the use of the moose has been brought to a Syracuse court!

The lawsuit was brought against Adirondack Pub & Brewery in early 2015. Moosehead Breweries argued that Adirondack Pub & Brewery’s Moose Wizz root beer violated the trademark for Moosehead Lager, Moosehead’s most well-known beer. Moose Wizz root beer’s logo of a moose is cartoonish and brightly colored while Moosehead Lager’s logo is subdued and slightly realistic.

Nevertheless, Moosehead Breweries’ lawsuit is less about the actual appearance of the moose and more about the use of the moose in general for products. We noted last year that Moosehead’s lawsuit was based on a legal claim on the word “moose” and the use of a profile or silhouette of a moose’s head.

Moosehead Breweries won a lawsuit in 2004 against Big Sky Brewing and its use of the word “moose” on its Moose Drool beer. This lawsuit ended in a settlement which allowed Big Sky Brewing to sell Moose Drool in certain states to the west of the Mississippi.

Moosehead Lager was created in 1931 and is sold throughout the U.S. and Canada. Moose Wizz has been sold for about six years, and it’s available online and in 40 New York counties.

However, a major point in this battle between Adirondack Pub & Brewery and Moosehead Breweries is that Moose Wizz root beer is a soft drink. Moosehead Breweries’ “moose property” is for beer products, and Moose Wizz isn’t actually a beer.

Ultimately, it will be up to the Syracuse court to decide the moose’s future as a trademark. Will one company own the trademark, or will any company be free to showcase its likeness on products? The moose battle went to court on Tuesday, August 23, 2016, and it’s expected to take around two days for a decision to be announced.

Do you think the iconic moose should be trademarked?