Sony recently told Knee Deep Brewing to “stay out of my territory,” claiming copyright infringement on one of its most popular beers, Breaking Bud. The media company claims the brewery’s Breaking Bad-inspired beer intentionally capitalizes on the hit TV show’s fame.
In its complaint, Sony writes the show, “has been ranked by the Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed show of all time and has been cited as one of the greatest television series in history.”
Knee Deep describes its beer as an “old school meets new school” IPA. It uses Mosaic, Simcoe and CTZ hops for a balanced pine, mango and tropical fruit flavor. It also uses a “pinch of crystal malt” for a cooked — we mean crisp — feel.
Sony takes issue with both the name and Knee Deep’s marketing. “Simply put, rather than investing the time, effort and resources necessary to establish their own reputation and identity, defendants have instead opted to hijack the famous brand identity associated with SPT and its Breaking Bad show for defendants’ own intended benefit,” wrote attorney Jean-Paul Jassy in the complaint.
Knee Deep went all in on the marketing for Breaking Bud. As a result, the media company is suing for trademark infringement, dilution, false designation of origin and unfair competition, among other claims. It seeks an injunction to stop Knee Deep from using “Breaking Bud” and the current design and logo, plus damages.
This is certainly not the first time a company sued beer purveyors for similar reasons, and legal battles in craft beer aren’t exactly new, either. Knee Deep could get around the law by claiming they intended it as a parody of the show, but that loophole can be hard to prove. Either way, you might want to grab a sixer of Breaking Bud before it — like its namesake — comes to an end.