In the trademark world, the recent buss is Anheuser-Busch’s creative demand letter it sent to a Minnesota craft brewery. If you have not heard the story, the Minnesota brewery advertised a beer call DILLY DILLY. Rather than send a nasty letter written by a lawyer, Anheuser-Busch sent a medieval dressed man with a scroll to declare its request that the Minnesota brewery no longer promote a DILLY DILLY beer. The medieval man also came bearing two Super Bowl tickets for the owners of the brewery.
Anheuser-Busch played this exactly the right way. The Minnesota brewery was in no way going to cause it to lose sales or diminish the goodwill in its brand, so Anheuser-Busch hugely benefited from the advertising it received when it’s stunt went viral.
The trademark search lesson to be learned from this situation is that searching the Internet alone is in sufficient. Anheuser-Busch did not use DILLY DILLY on any packaging. It used the phrase, orally in its ads. But, Anheuser-Busch filed on September 20, 2017 an intent-to-use application for DILLY DILLY in connection with “beer.” While searching the Internet would not have uncovered an issue with the DILLY DILLY mark, using BOB to search DILLY DILLY would have found the problem.