Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has filed a lawsuit against California-based Knee Deep Brewing Company over the name of one of its IPAs — Breaking Bud. The lawsuit claims trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and unfair competition, calling Knee Deep's beer an "obvious effort to trade on the fame and recognition of the BREAKING BAD Marks and associate itself with the tremendous success of SPT’s famous television show. …"
Knee Deep has been brewing Breaking Bud beer since 2015. The beer's labeling features a man in a hazmat suit and symbols for chemical elements, similar to what was used in the title sequence of the Sony-produced TV show 'Breaking Bad.' Sony states in court documents that 'Breaking Bad'"became one of the most watched cable shows on American television, 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."
According to Beer Street Journal, Sony claims it had contacted Knee Deep in the past to stop its usage of 'Breaking Bad'-associated branding.
Knee Deep's website home page features a statement about the lawsuit from the company's CEO, Jerry Moore. In it, Moore says he was "surprised by the unexpected lawsuit" and says that the two companies had had a discussion about formalizing a partnership, but talks went no further. He goes on to say, in part:
"Breaking Bud is one of our more successful beers, and I think our customers appreciate that the quirky label is a joke. No one has ever thought the joke meant we were endorsed by Breaking Bad. … At the end of the day, the quality of the beer is what has made Breaking Bud popular and we should all be able to take a joke."
You can view the court documents at The Hollywood Reporter website here.