According to the Sunderland Echo, a local microbrewery named Wear Beer was recently baffled to discover a copyright appeal made by representatives of car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz. Bringing this claim to the attention of the Intellectual Property Office, Mercedes is "threatening to oppose" the small but prosperous business if it fails to comply with requests to alter its logo.
While Wear Beer's logo bears the same basic shape as Mercedes' logo, the intricate design draws elements from the owner's dual heritage – a unique addition that appears visually different to Mercedes' sleek, minimalist emblem. (If you're after more iconic logo designs, check out our collection of famous textless logos).
Owned by Valenica-born Julio Romero Johnson, Wear Beer's design references his Spanish heritage via a three-point star motif. The symbol represents the International Brigades, a group of military units that were active during the 1936 Spanish Civil War in the fight against Fascism. Tieing to the brewery's English heritage, the design features a snake-like creature weaving between the star emblem – a playful representation of a local urban myth called the Lambton Worm.
In my opinion, Johnson's illustrative design appears different to the minimalist logo of Mercedes-Benz, so it's understandable that he was perplexed upon receiving the notice of threatened opposition stating that he may have to pay the multinational costs.
“I was surprised to receive it. My heart sank when I saw ‘Mercedes’ and not some corner shop you can go and have a chat with," Mr Johnson told the Sunderland Echo." "I don’t know if they will change their mind. I intend to write to Mercedes through their solicitors".
At the time of writing, Mr Johnson has drafted a polite letter to Mercedes-Benz, expressing that both brands' strong opposing identities are unlikely to cause confusion among consumers. As most of us would agree, beer and cars should never mix and in my opinion, it seems that Mercedes' threat of opposition might be lacking the driving force that it needs to triumph in this case.
If you're after more logo disputes that caused controversy, check out why Adidas sued this golf league over a 'confusingly similar' logo design, or for a dose of logo history, check out the surprising secret behind the Mercedes-Benz logo.