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Lagunitas Believes Sierra Nevada Stole its IPA Label

Lagunitas filed a lawsuit, but plans to drop it today.

From official court documents.

There's some tension in the hops-filled air: According to Inside Scoop SF, Petaluma, Calif.-based Lagunitas Brewing Company has filed a trademark infringement suit against beer giant Sierra Nevada. The lawsuit alleges that the lettering used on the label for Sierra Nevada's new Hop Hunter IPA is far too similar to that used on Lagunitas' flagship IPA, which was released 20 years ago. Lagunitas argues that the labels are so alike that "the new Sierra Nevada beer will either harm Lagunitas' brand or look like a collaboration."

The brewery wants a temporary restraining order against the release of Hop Hunter alongside financial compensation. ISSF points out that the most interesting implication of the lawsuit is that it is a "rare sign of discord" in an industry that is typically known to work together. A trademark attorney told the site: "As far as I know, this is one of the first times that two big craft brewers have been in a lawsuit against each other."

It looks as though the the war may have ended before it even really began, though. Lagunitas founder Tony Magee published a series of tweets late last night indicating that the company plans to drop the lawsuit.

Magee added in another tweet that yesterday was "the worst day ever." He proclaimed: "Today was in the hands of the ultimate court; The Court of Public Opinion and in it I got an answer to my Question; Our IPA's TM (trademark) has limits." Magee tells the Press Democrat that "Sierra is a great brand. They were one of the inspirations for my brand."

UPDATE, 1/15/2015: Lagunitas officially dropped the lawsuit against Sierra Nevada today.