Samuel Smith launch legal action over Cropton Brewery's white rose beer branding

Cropton brewery staff launch Yorkshire Warrior in 2008

The labels on the two beers, each using the traditional white rose of Yorkshire as part of the design

Cropton Brewery’s Yorkshire Warrior, left, and Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Pale Ale

First published in News

A BREWERY’S fundraising drive for wounded servicemen is in jeopardy after rival brewer Samuel Smith’s launched legal action over the use of Yorkshire’s white rose on beer labels.

Cropton Brewery launched its Yorkshire Warrior beer in 2008, having won permission from the Yorkshire Regiment to feature its emblem – a lion carrying the standard of St George above a white rose – on the labels and pump clips.

Most of the profits from the beer go to the regiment’s benevolent fund, which helps seriously-wounded soldiers returning from Afghanistan. More than £10,000 has been raised so far through the sale of the beer.

But court documents obtained by The Press have revealed that Cropton, based near Pickering, has been served with a writ by Tadcaster brewery Samuel Smith’s, claiming that Cropton’s use of the “stylised white rose device” is a trademark infringement.

The writ states that the white rose device is “confusingly similar” to the white rose used by Samuel Smith’s as its trademark since the 1960s.

It alleges that, despite correspondence on the issue, Cropton has continued to use or authorise the use of the white rose, while Samuel Smith’s continues to suffer actual or threatened loss or damage.

The Tadcaster brewery is seeking an injunction, damages and the destruction of beer bottles and pump clips with illustrations which infringe the trademark, and costs.

A Cropton Brewery spokesman said that, after informing the regiment of the brewery’s legal action, the regiment had asked the brewery to remove the regimental emblem from the labels.

He said the legal action, scheduled to go to a hearing at the High Court next year, was being contested by Cropton.

The brewery’s defence to the writ states: “The Yorkshire rose is a common symbol and the claimant (Samuel Smith’s) is not entitled to assert any kind of monopoly over its use.”

The defence statement claims the rose on the Warrior beer is not confusingly similar to Samuel Smith’s emblem, and denies it will be associated with its products. It also claims there are a number of other Yorkshire brewers which also use the rose.

The defence document reveals that another beer made by Cropton, MS Bitter for Marks & Spencer, which also features the Yorkshire White Rose, is also involved in the legal action by Samuel Smith’s.

A Samuel Smith’s spokesman declined to comment and a spokeswoman for the regiment said it did not feel it would be appropriate to comment.

Comments (22)

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11:04am Tue 5 Oct 10

hifive says...

Christ on a bike! Those beers couldn't look more different! And if one was confused with the other, surely the true victim would be Crompton!
Christ on a bike! Those beers couldn't look more different! And if one was confused with the other, surely the true victim would be Crompton! hifive
  • Score: 0

11:12am Tue 5 Oct 10

long distance depressive says...

Sam Smiths...get a life!!
Sam Smiths...get a life!! long distance depressive
  • Score: 0

11:28am Tue 5 Oct 10

Garrowby Turnoff says...

Someone at Cropton's dropped a clanger by not checking the 'liklihood of confusion criteria' which is the main point the court will judge it on. In Cropton's case this is a failure to research properly.
.
The second most important point is 'the sophistication of the purchasers of the products'. To quote a source more knowledgable than I...
.

"Generally, the more sophisticated and knowledgeable the purchasers, the less likely it is that those purchasers will be confused by similar marks. For example, purchasers of jet engines for airplanes will most likely be professional purchasing agents with an intimate knowledge of competing products. Simply put, their purchasing decision is not primarily based on a comparison of the marks, per se, but is based on a deep understanding of the products and their manufacturers. On the other end of the scale, the ordinary, unsophisticated supermarket shopper is likely to be highly influenced by the marks used on products. He or she has neither the time nor the inclination to research competing products. The possibility for confusion of an unsophisticated purchaser is more acute, and thus, a similar mark may create a likelihood of confusion in the mind of an unsophisticated consumer where, in the same case, none would exist in the mind of a sophisticated purchaser."- http://www.tms.org/p
ubs/journals/jom/mat
ters/matters-0212.ht
ml
Someone at Cropton's dropped a clanger by not checking the 'liklihood of confusion criteria' which is the main point the court will judge it on. In Cropton's case this is a failure to research properly. . The second most important point is 'the sophistication of the purchasers of the products'. To quote a source more knowledgable than I... . "Generally, the more sophisticated and knowledgeable the purchasers, the less likely it is that those purchasers will be confused by similar marks. For example, purchasers of jet engines for airplanes will most likely be professional purchasing agents with an intimate knowledge of competing products. Simply put, their purchasing decision is not primarily based on a comparison of the marks, per se, but is based on a deep understanding of the products and their manufacturers. On the other end of the scale, the ordinary, unsophisticated supermarket shopper is likely to be highly influenced by the marks used on products. He or she has neither the time nor the inclination to research competing products. The possibility for confusion of an unsophisticated purchaser is more acute, and thus, a similar mark may create a likelihood of confusion in the mind of an unsophisticated consumer where, in the same case, none would exist in the mind of a sophisticated purchaser."- http://www.tms.org/p ubs/journals/jom/mat ters/matters-0212.ht ml Garrowby Turnoff
  • Score: 0

11:51am Tue 5 Oct 10

Abbers123 says...

Oh Beer...
Oh Beer... Abbers123
  • Score: 0

11:54am Tue 5 Oct 10

Roach says...

Any Yorkshireman worth his salt should rally to support Cropton Brewery in this matter - surely the White Rose is the symbol of the County and not the exclusive trade mark of Samuel Smith's!
Any Yorkshireman worth his salt should rally to support Cropton Brewery in this matter - surely the White Rose is the symbol of the County and not the exclusive trade mark of Samuel Smith's! Roach
  • Score: 0

12:31pm Tue 5 Oct 10

mickrick says...

dont go to court with humphrey. you will lose. cut your losses now. you cannot afford to fight him. ask anyone in tadcaster. you are on a hiding to nothing. can you afford to go all the way to the house of lords????? humphrey can and he will. you wont have a brewery if you carry on in conflict with him.
dont go to court with humphrey. you will lose. cut your losses now. you cannot afford to fight him. ask anyone in tadcaster. you are on a hiding to nothing. can you afford to go all the way to the house of lords????? humphrey can and he will. you wont have a brewery if you carry on in conflict with him. mickrick
  • Score: 0

12:56pm Tue 5 Oct 10

North Wales Yorkie says...

Exactly so, Roach. I may have to curtail my consumption of Sam Smiths, there are plenty of suitable alternatives.

"Someone at Cropton's dropped a clanger"... I think the publicity will damage Sam Smiths while boosting Cropton's sales.
Exactly so, Roach. I may have to curtail my consumption of Sam Smiths, there are plenty of suitable alternatives. "Someone at Cropton's dropped a clanger"... I think the publicity will damage Sam Smiths while boosting Cropton's sales. North Wales Yorkie
  • Score: 0

1:11pm Tue 5 Oct 10

oldgoat says...

Being as Sam Smiths seem to be using the White Rose the wrong way up, and Cromptons have it right, AND its actually the county symbol, what is the fuss about?

Are Sam Smiths going to start challenging anyone else who uses the Yorkshire Rose, just in case they buy something else instead of their bottle of beer? Please, get real, this looks mroe like cheap publicity......
Being as Sam Smiths seem to be using the White Rose the wrong way up, and Cromptons have it right, AND its actually the county symbol, what is the fuss about? Are Sam Smiths going to start challenging anyone else who uses the Yorkshire Rose, just in case they buy something else instead of their bottle of beer? Please, get real, this looks mroe like cheap publicity...... oldgoat
  • Score: 0

1:25pm Tue 5 Oct 10

daisy duke says...

I never did like Sam Smith's beer!! Even less so now
I never did like Sam Smith's beer!! Even less so now daisy duke
  • Score: 0

1:41pm Tue 5 Oct 10

Pete the Brickie says...

mickrick wrote:
dont go to court with humphrey. you will lose. cut your losses now. you cannot afford to fight him. ask anyone in tadcaster. you are on a hiding to nothing. can you afford to go all the way to the house of lords????? humphrey can and he will. you wont have a brewery if you carry on in conflict with him.
I'd agree with that, Mr Smith's taken up a few legal battles, some more noble than others, but very few losing battles. You've won this skirmish Cropton on the publicity front, now withdraw honour intact.
[quote][p][bold]mickrick[/bold] wrote: dont go to court with humphrey. you will lose. cut your losses now. you cannot afford to fight him. ask anyone in tadcaster. you are on a hiding to nothing. can you afford to go all the way to the house of lords????? humphrey can and he will. you wont have a brewery if you carry on in conflict with him.[/p][/quote]I'd agree with that, Mr Smith's taken up a few legal battles, some more noble than others, but very few losing battles. You've won this skirmish Cropton on the publicity front, now withdraw honour intact. Pete the Brickie
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Tue 5 Oct 10

myselby says...

can other small independent brewers start producing “Yorkshire “ beer, and use the rose? Give SSOB something else to do apart from every other issue they have with groups who do not agree with them. may be SSOB would like to take on the Tudors, most theatres who put on Shakespeare’s history plays use the white rose on the publicity , mugs T shirts etc.
can other small independent brewers start producing “Yorkshire “ beer, and use the rose? Give SSOB something else to do apart from every other issue they have with groups who do not agree with them. may be SSOB would like to take on the Tudors, most theatres who put on Shakespeare’s history plays use the white rose on the publicity , mugs T shirts etc. myselby
  • Score: 0

2:18pm Tue 5 Oct 10

Theendoftheworld says...

I hope that Humphrey doesn't find out that I've a white rose tattoo on my back.
I hope that Humphrey doesn't find out that I've a white rose tattoo on my back. Theendoftheworld
  • Score: 1

2:26pm Tue 5 Oct 10

BioLogic says...

Oor er. Me thinks that Sam smiths may live to regret this. Trying to annex the symbol of Yorkshire from use by Yorkshire folk. Shoddy and jus a little bit dangerous, in publicity terms anyway!
Oor er. Me thinks that Sam smiths may live to regret this. Trying to annex the symbol of Yorkshire from use by Yorkshire folk. Shoddy and jus a little bit dangerous, in publicity terms anyway! BioLogic
  • Score: 0

3:14pm Tue 5 Oct 10

Cost Accountant says...

Wikipedia says "The White Rose of York is the symbol of the House of York and has been adapted as a symbol of Yorkshire as a whole".
I wonder if Sam Smiths is going to sue the Yorkshire Regiment for using what they say is "THEIR" White Rose?.
Alternatively are they going to contribute to Army Benevolent funds from all their sales?
Wikipedia says "The White Rose of York is the symbol of the House of York and has been adapted as a symbol of Yorkshire as a whole". I wonder if Sam Smiths is going to sue the Yorkshire Regiment for using what they say is "THEIR" White Rose?. Alternatively are they going to contribute to Army Benevolent funds from all their sales? Cost Accountant
  • Score: 0

3:14pm Tue 5 Oct 10

Cost Accountant says...

Wikipedia says "The White Rose of York is the symbol of the House of York and has been adapted as a symbol of Yorkshire as a whole".
I wonder if Sam Smiths is going to sue the Yorkshire Regiment for using what they say is "THEIR" White Rose?.
Alternatively are they going to contribute to Army Benevolent funds from all their sales?
Wikipedia says "The White Rose of York is the symbol of the House of York and has been adapted as a symbol of Yorkshire as a whole". I wonder if Sam Smiths is going to sue the Yorkshire Regiment for using what they say is "THEIR" White Rose?. Alternatively are they going to contribute to Army Benevolent funds from all their sales? Cost Accountant
  • Score: 0

3:17pm Tue 5 Oct 10

Abbers123 says...

Sam Smith was the name of this enormous kid who was in my year at school... True Story.
Sam Smith was the name of this enormous kid who was in my year at school... True Story. Abbers123
  • Score: 0

4:28pm Tue 5 Oct 10

welshjen says...

You can only ever get Sam Smiths beers in a Sam Smiths pub and they won't ever have non Sam Smiths beer - so there isn't any chance of ever confusing the 2 anyway.
You can only ever get Sam Smiths beers in a Sam Smiths pub and they won't ever have non Sam Smiths beer - so there isn't any chance of ever confusing the 2 anyway. welshjen
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Tue 5 Oct 10

leninwasright says...

welshjen wrote:
You can only ever get Sam Smiths beers in a Sam Smiths pub and they won't ever have non Sam Smiths beer - so there isn't any chance of ever confusing the 2 anyway.
You can buy Sam Smiths beers in supermarkets. Jolly good they are too.
[quote][p][bold]welshjen[/bold] wrote: You can only ever get Sam Smiths beers in a Sam Smiths pub and they won't ever have non Sam Smiths beer - so there isn't any chance of ever confusing the 2 anyway.[/p][/quote]You can buy Sam Smiths beers in supermarkets. Jolly good they are too. leninwasright
  • Score: 0

5:36pm Tue 5 Oct 10

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

Sams and the Regiment were fine using the rose because it represented Yorkshire: one makes beer, the other fights for its country. Now Cropton have jumped on the bandwagon, also using the rose to sell beer and that's where the problem starts. A bit naive of Cropton really - and falling back on the 'it's for our brave boys' argument won't really help.
Sams and the Regiment were fine using the rose because it represented Yorkshire: one makes beer, the other fights for its country. Now Cropton have jumped on the bandwagon, also using the rose to sell beer and that's where the problem starts. A bit naive of Cropton really - and falling back on the 'it's for our brave boys' argument won't really help. Ignatius Lumpopo
  • Score: 0

5:49pm Tue 5 Oct 10

mickrick says...

Pete the Brickie wrote:
mickrick wrote: dont go to court with humphrey. you will lose. cut your losses now. you cannot afford to fight him. ask anyone in tadcaster. you are on a hiding to nothing. can you afford to go all the way to the house of lords????? humphrey can and he will. you wont have a brewery if you carry on in conflict with him.
I'd agree with that, Mr Smith's taken up a few legal battles, some more noble than others, but very few losing battles. You've won this skirmish Cropton on the publicity front, now withdraw honour intact.
well said pete, hope these people know what they are taking on. They will lose the case and everything around them that they own. "Withdraw now with honour intact." couldnt have put it better myself and Im not a barrister charging £800.00 a day.
[quote][p][bold]Pete the Brickie[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mickrick[/bold] wrote: dont go to court with humphrey. you will lose. cut your losses now. you cannot afford to fight him. ask anyone in tadcaster. you are on a hiding to nothing. can you afford to go all the way to the house of lords????? humphrey can and he will. you wont have a brewery if you carry on in conflict with him.[/p][/quote]I'd agree with that, Mr Smith's taken up a few legal battles, some more noble than others, but very few losing battles. You've won this skirmish Cropton on the publicity front, now withdraw honour intact.[/p][/quote]well said pete, hope these people know what they are taking on. They will lose the case and everything around them that they own. "Withdraw now with honour intact." couldnt have put it better myself and Im not a barrister charging £800.00 a day. mickrick
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Tue 5 Oct 10

Thrasher says...

welshjen wrote:
You can only ever get Sam Smiths beers in a Sam Smiths pub and they won't ever have non Sam Smiths beer - so there isn't any chance of ever confusing the 2 anyway.
Incorrect. Taddy Stout is on sale in Tromso, Norway. I saw some in the supermarket yesterday.
[quote][p][bold]welshjen[/bold] wrote: You can only ever get Sam Smiths beers in a Sam Smiths pub and they won't ever have non Sam Smiths beer - so there isn't any chance of ever confusing the 2 anyway.[/p][/quote]Incorrect. Taddy Stout is on sale in Tromso, Norway. I saw some in the supermarket yesterday. Thrasher
  • Score: 0

9:54pm Tue 5 Oct 10

joshe says...

It was said David couldn't beat Goliath!
It was said David couldn't beat Goliath! joshe
  • Score: 0

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