Brewery Battling Lucasfilm After Attempt To Trademark “Empire Strikes Bock” Beer

Image courtesy of (Great Beyond)

On the one hand, it was all a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. On the other hand, Lucasfilm owns the trademark on the Star Wars franchise and you better believe anyone creeping around those star systems is going to get a response. So when an upstate New York brewery started peddling “Empire’s Strike Bock” beer, Disney-owned Lucasfilm fired up the legal engines and is sueing the brewery right into hyperspace (too many Star Wars references? No such thing).

Because the second movie in the trilogy is called The Empire Strikes Back, Lucasfilm is none too pleased with the brewery, Empire, shilling its “Strikes Bock” beer, reports the New York Post, because of the difference of a few letters.

In addition, marketing materials for the beer feature a poster styled after the opening crawl of letters in the Star Wars movies, declaring “May the hops be with you,” so make no mistake, this beer wants you to think of Luke, Leia, Han and the rest of the gang.


Lucasfilm filed a notice of opposition with the US Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month, noting the similarity in the beer’s name and the title of the 1980 film, as well as the fact that the brand sells its own beverages now and again.

It reads:

“Applicant’s EMPIRE STRIKES BOCK mark is virtually identical in sound, appearance and connotation to Lucasfilm’s THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK mark, differing by only one letter in the respective last words ‘BOCK’ and ‘BACK’ and the initial word ‘THE.’”

Lucasfilm has a long history of using such marks for food and beverages, including wine. The fact that consumers have been exposed to and accustomed to seeing Lucasfilm’s Star Wars film franchise marks in connection with food and beverages, including wine, increases the already existing likelihood of confusion.”

But a manager at the brewery says it’s all a misunderstanding, because the beer is really just “Strikes Bock,” and it happens to made by Empire, so it’s Empire’s “Strike Bock” beer. Oh.

“I don’t see why they would have any objection. It’s not like we’re using images of Star Wars on the bottle or on our Web site,” he told the NYP. “As a Star Wars fan boy, I’m a big dork. I’d love nothing more than to be the trilogy’s official beer, but I don’t think there’s any chance of people actually interpreting it that way.”

The brewery has been making the beer for seven years, so why is this fight just brewing now? It turns out Empire had reportedly filed for a trademark recently, stirring up some serious cosmic space dust in the process.

Lucasfilm sues brewery over Star Wars-inspired beer [New York Post]

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