Nicest "get bent, you jerky lawyer" letter ever

Themac sez, "Fantastic response to a cease and desist. I was particularly impressed at whom they cc'ed." This may be the nicest "go screw yourself" letter ever sent.

The backdrop: The San Antonio, Texas based Freetail Brewing Co. received a cease and desist letter from the Steelhead Brewing Co. (based out of Eugene, Oregon) demanding that they stop using “Hopasaurus Rex” as a name for one of their beers.

Best letter ever written to a Lawyer


  1. It’s hard to call this a GFY letter when they say it is a “complete and total acquiescence” to their request.

    1. Yeah, I was wondering about that, too.  Maybe there’s more to the letter?
      As it is, it reads more like an angsty teen reluctantly obeying orders.

      1. You know, you could actually FOLLOW THE LINK and read the thing. Otherwise your comment just adds to the noise. Mmmmkay?

    2. Yeah, “get bent you jerky lawyer” is definitely an inaccurate summary of this letter.  It basically says, “OK, I’ll do exactly what you asked, but I wish you would’ve asked nicely.”  However, Boing Boing wouldn’t get nearly as many page hits if they didn’t overhype an otherwise-mundane article.

  2. Steelhead is the corporate brewpub in Eugene. I’m not surprised they law’d up. Ninkasi is eating their lunch.

    1. Good to know. I’ve been to the Steelhead in Eugene a few times. Not likely to go again this spring when I pass through on my annual pilgrimage now that I’ve seen that they’re so inclined. I hope Ninkasi not only eats their lunch, but  orders it with one of their fabulous brews which are nothing short of sublime. Cheers

  3. Arkell v Pressdram is still better.

    The plaintiff was the subject of an article relating to illicit payments, and the magazine had ample evidence to back up the article. Arkell’s lawyers wrote a letter which concluded: “His attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of your reply.” The magazine’s response was, in full: “We acknowledge your letter of 29th April referring to Mr J. Arkell. We note that Mr Arkell’s attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to damages would be, were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: fuck off.”

  4. The letter struck me as pretty childish actually…  Do you really need to insult someone just because they are a lawyer?  But its not clear what the initial correspondence was like; maybe it was called for.

    But the guy’s TED talk was ok.  “Economies of Authenticity” is a pretty dumb term, but the gist of the speech made sense.  I don’t think we will be seeing any neighborhood smartphone makers though; economies of scale make sense sometimes.  Luckily for him, making tasty beer is easier than complex consumer electronics.  

    1. So, you’re calling him out for being insulting by way of… insulting him. Not sure you’re on the high ground there, tex.

  5. Oh, sarcasm – that’s original!

    Sounds to me like Steelhead has the mark and that there’s plenty of opportunity for confusion in the marketplace. This is exactly what trademark registration exists for. Freetail should just come up with an original name for their beer, rather than acting like petulant children when they get caught using someone else’s name. 

    1. MoscHOPS would be a good name, except then they’d be flooded with letters from angry paleontologists complaining that the theraspid in question predated flowering plants (like hops) by 100 million years or so.

      Being geologists, they’d still drink it, of course.

        1. The way it was explained to me, when you’re out in the field:

          1) It’s hot work hauling samples and equipment up and down hills all day.
          2) After you return to camp, make dinner, and update your notes and maps, there’s not much else to do at night.

    2. I thought the whole point was that there couldn’t be confusion in the marketplace, as these are beers sold *only* in their respective locations and not side by side in store shelves.

      1. Yes, but I believe registering nationwide rights for a trademark secures your ability to roll out the usage more broadly (geography-wise). It would be silly if a trademark only held in places where you already sell the product. What if, having registered the mark nationally, the company sending this letter intended to eventually sell in San Antonio?

  6. I prefer Tricerahops. . . 

    not to be confused with any other saurian beer name with the word ‘hops’ in it.

  7. I have actually gone to Freetail numerous times in the past as I used to work close by.  Great place, but I preferred Blue Star down on the south end of the Riverwalk for my fresher micro brews in San Antonio.  That and “The Cove” for anything else in a bottle.

    It always amused me that San Antonio, with it’s 1.7 million people, has just two microbreweries.  Now back here in Oregon, our town with about 55,000 has 4-5 of them.  The “microbreweries per capita” thing is a bit sad down there in San Antonio, but glad that Freetail and Blue Star are doing what they can (and sticking it to the man).

    Oakshire (Ill Tempered Gnome) all the way!

  8. This kind of thing happens a lot in the beer world.  DFH got sued by BUD for using “Punkin” instead of “Pumpkin”.  Magic Hat sued Georgetown because people might get confused between a “Magic Hat #9” and their “9 pound porter”.  McMennamins owns the word “ruby” in association with beer and sued Odin here in Seattle for using it.  That one is probably the weirdest to me because a “Ruby Mild” is actually a beer style in England, but I could never make a ruby mild and call it such because McMennamins makes a raspberry beer called “Ruby”.

    1. Sure you could- style names win over trademarks. might have trouble getting someone to believe in their heart that something outside the US exists but that’s another problem.

  9. This letter would be more amusing if I wasn’t familiar with the Lanham Act. Reading about some beer-maker snarkily misunderstanding the likelihood of confusion test makes me think that they’re just being childish. It is easy enough to make fun of lawyers for a million reasons, but don’t try to school an IP lawyer on the elements of trademark infringement. They’ve read thousands of pages of literature and opinions on the meaning of every word in the Lanham Act.

    1. And as a lawyer, don’t your clients sometimes insist you go ahead with actions you think have little chance of success? You wouldn’t be trying to discourage non-lawyers from ameliorating their ignorance, would you?

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