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Brewery sues law firm for trademark infringement

Full Sail Brewing Company Sessions Lager sues The Sessions Law Firm for copyright infringement.
Source: U.S. District Court of Oregon.
Full Sail Brewing Company Sessions Lager sues The Sessions Law Firm for copyright infringement.

With more than 3,000 U.S. breweries in operation, trademark disputes are becoming a regular occurrence in the beer business. But a lawsuit filed by Oregon-based Full Sail Brewing may be a first.

In the lawsuit, filed in federal court, Full Sail is suing The Sessions Law Firm, an Atlanta-based firm that specializes in driving under the influence (DUI) cases, for trademark infringement.

According to the filing, Full Sail has been selling beer under the trademark "Session" by "showing the word SESSION inside a distinctive shield logo, using a distinctive font, often with a red background and with a grey outline" since 2005.

Full Sail alleges The Sessions Law Firm has been marketing itself to beer drinkers using the words "Sessions Law" inside the same "distinctive shield logo, distinctive font, red background and grey outline" that Full Sail uses.

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The suit also claims one of law firm's marketing materials includes a brown paper bag used to hold single cans of beer adorned with the infringing Sessions Law logo.

Full Sail says the use of a similar mark causes consumer confusion and "creates a direct and malicious connection between FULL SAIL's goods, namely beer, and DUI (Driving Under the Influence)," which threatens "the good will and reputation for quality that FULL SAIL has worked so hard to cultivate."

The brewery is asking for damages and an injunction prohibiting the law firm from using the words "Session" or "Sessions" in connection with any diamond shape or outlined shield, the color red, or a cursive font.

The Sessions Law Firm did not immediately responded to a request for comment.

—By CNBC's Tom Rotunno