The big question now is, what effect will this have on Anheuser-Busch's application for "Brewed the Hard Way." Martin City's application proceeding to registration presents a potential obstacle to A-B's application as the Trademark Examiner may view the two marks to be confusingly similar. It seems unlikely that A-B would simply abandon this mark, particularly after this year's Super Bowl commercial, featuring the refrain "Not Backing Down."
So, it will be interesting to see what happens next in A-B's application. It is possible that A-B and Martin City agreed to co-exist in the market. A "consent agreement," for example, is a common device to resolve a trademark dispute. Basically, both sides acknowledge the other's right to use their mark and declare that they see no reason why there would be any confusion in the marketplace as to the source of their respective products. These agreements are more common between two parties of more or less equal size (two craft breweries, for example). But, if we do see one of these pop up in A-B's "Brewed the Hard Way" application, it may be a sign that they are willing to play nicely in the sand-box with small brewers, despite all the "Not a Hobby," "Not Sipped," "Not a Fruit Cup" rhetoric in their ads.
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I, for one, would like to see that be the case, as there is plenty of room in the market for those who are proud to be big, international conglomerates and those who are proud to be independent and local.