Molson Coors Canada is getting sued for trademark infringement over the use of a logo. And not just any logo, but a logo that's quite possibly the most iconic visual representation of Canadian cottage life - a Muskoka chair. The Muskoka Brewery Molson Coors legal battle was initiated by the Ontario-based brewing company last week.
According to the Financial Post, Muskoka Brewery executives were notified by sales reps that Molson Canadian was handing out free t-shirts branded in a logo that closely resembled their own. Muskoka Brewery's cottage country chair logo is recognized by Ontarians and the company is convinced that Molson's use of a similar logo posed an issue.
Muskoka Brewery, who has trademarked their Muskoka chair logo, filed the suit on Thursday, reports the Financial Post. Their use of the logo has “deceived and confused the public in Canada,” wrote Muskoka Brewery.
Muskoka Brewery demands that Molson get rid of any and all products depicting the chair logo. The Toronto Star reports that Muskoka Brewery is also seeking compensation for all profits generated by Molson through the use of products depicting the chair logo.
Muskoka Brewery's lawyer Tamara Ramsey tells the Financial Post that Molson's use of the logo could "create consumer confusion." “The image of the Muskoka chair is closely associated with their brand, they’ve been using it since 2011,” she says.
Muskoka Brewery even threw shade at Molson on Instagram with a sassy "Who wore it better?" post:
Todd Lewin, president of Muskoka Brewery, said in a press release, "We are proud of what we have built here in Muskoka and we need to protect what is ours. Our beer triggers real memories of enjoying a local brew sitting in a Muskoka chair on the dock. We don’t want beer drinkers to be confused on what beer they are buying and that we are somehow associated with a big multinational brewery.”
According to the Financial Post, Molson Coors briefly addressed the use of the chair image "on a t-shirt available in select cases of Molson Canadian.” They also refused to refer to it as a Muskoka chair and instead called it by its American name, "Adirondack chair". Molson will be reviewing Muskoka's trademark claim in "detail" but didn't provide media outlets with further comment.