You read that right. They created him, they used him, and now, they may have waited too long in between uses to be able to claim they have the rights to him. This lawsuit (link to complaint), filed yesterday in the Southern District of New York by Spuds Ventures.
The lawsuit alleges that the recent Spuds Superbowl spot (linked here) feature “ghost spuds” was an infringement on the mark that Spuds Ventures picked up because AB “abandoned” the trademark for Spuds in 1989. They allege that Anheuser missed their Section 8 filings required of a trademark owner; mark owners have to file these every 5-6 years saying they’ve been using the mark or cancellation ensues.
Seeking damages and an injunction, the complaint says that another user has been using the mark for t-shirts and other items and has filed and received a registration, which Spuds Ventures now owns. If nothing else, a good reminder to stay abreast of your Section 8 use filings.