What's in a name? Trademark protection
Web sites - Sam Adams the brewer challenges Sam Adams the politician
A fermenting beer brawl pits Boston's Samuel Adams (brewer, patriot) against Portland's Sam Adams (bicyclist, politician).Isn't that big of the brewer? The might consider letting Sam Adams use his own name.
When Mayor Tom Potter said he wouldn't seek re-election last month, City Commissioner Sam Adams became the likely mayoral heir. Enterprising KEX radio hosts Mark Mason and Dave Anderson registered the Web addresses www.samadamsformayor.com and www.mayorsamadams.com, promising to give Adams those if he discussed his political future on their show. He did.
Everything was swell until last week, when Anderson got a letter from The Boston Beer Co.
"Boston Beer has used the trademarks SAM ADAMS\STRIP and SAMUEL ADAMS\STRIP since 1984," said the letter, which asked Anderson to give up the Web sites.
Portland's Sam Adams is amused and a bit concerned: His campaign staff consulted lawyers Tuesday. The slogan "Sam Adams for Portland Mayor" is already on his Web site (www.samforpdx.com) and soon may grace yard signs and bumper stickers.
"They say they've been using this trademark since 1984," Adams said. "I've been using it since 1963."
Boston Beer's Helen Bornemann said she didn't know there was a real Sam Adams running for mayor when she sent the letter. The brewery has previously run "Sam Adams for President" marketing campaigns, she said, and feared someone was ripping them off. Bornemann said she's willing to discuss Adams' use of the Web sites "probably for the length of the time the election is being held."
The radio hosts have taken the fight on-air, even broadcasting the sound of a listener pouring Sam Adams beer in the toilet.
"These big corporations have got to stop bullying people around," Anderson said.