Laughing Buddha, a Seattle-based craft microbrewery, has resolved a trademark dispute with an Australian brewer that packages beer in Buddha-shaped bottles. To resolve the dispute, Laughing Buddha Brewing Company will operate as Trade Route Brewing Company starting April 1, 2009.
Smouha Fabrics, owner of Lucky Drink Company of Australia, sent a letter to the Seattle microbrewery in May 2008 objecting the use of Laughing Buddha’s name, citing US trademark registrations for their Buddha-bottle design and the name “Lucky Buddha.”
“We didn’t feel that we were infringing on their trademark,” says Chris Castillo, co-owner of Laughing Buddha Brewing Company. “Smouha is a big corporation and we couldn’t afford to go through the litigation process.”
Laughing Buddha Brewing Company began selling their line of beers to restaurants, pubs, and stores in late 2007. They brew a brown ale with pandan leaves, a hefeweizen with mangoes, and a pale ale with ginger.
“We’re experimenting with many ingredients from ancient trade routes,” says Castillo. “Trade Route Brewing Company will be a better fitting name for us.”