By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Oasis Texas Brewing Co. is being sued by New Belgium Brewing because both claim to have the right to the name Slow Ride.
“New Belgium is basically making two points: they’ve done an exhaustive search for the name, and that we wouldn’t settle amicably,” said Max Schleder, president of Oasis Texas Brewing at the Oasis Texas complex in Four Points.
Schleder said that it is “completely false” that they wouldn’t amicably settle.
“We’re big fans and we still like them to this day,” he added.
Oasis Texas Brewing started producing their pale ale under the name Slow Ride early last year. On April 29, 2014 the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission gave the local brewery approval for the name Slow Ride. By May, Slow Ride was on the market.
Fort Collins, Colo.-based New Belgium also has a Slow Ride. It is a session IPA.
But because Oasis Brewing didn’t register the name Slow Ride with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office until Nov. 5 — several months after New Belgium filed for the trademark — New Belgium is legally seeking to clarify where either brewery can use the name Slow Ride, according to reports.
In trademark cases, there are times when it is who uses first instead of who filed first that determines who has the rights to the trademark, according to reports.
Oasis Texas Brewing’s Slow Ride had a successful year last year.
“This is one of our core beers and best selling brands. It earned “Best Beer in Austin” last year. We ended the year on a high note,” Schleder said.
In May, he said they heard from New Belgium about the name.
“They said they did an exhaustive search before they settled on the name,” Schleder said. “(But) you’ll see a Google link dated April 30 (about our beer). They (New Belgium) are asking us to believe that nobody in their enormous company Googled Slow Ride.”
Then in October, at time of the Great American Beer Festival in Boulder, Colo., Oasis Texas Brewing officials actually took a tour of New Belgium’s facilities.
Not long after the festival, New Belgium’s CEO called Schleder. At first he thought it was a friendly call and that they might want to collaborate on a beer, but that was not the case.
“Communication with them involved hostility on their end of the line, especially from the owner herself,” Schleder said.
He said their CEO was using a threatening tone saying “her beer was called Slow Ride and that they were going to (basically) crush us.”
By that point the trademark opposition period expired, Schleder said.
Oasis Texas Brewing sent New Belgium a cease and desist letter and then they sent a legal team to try to settle the matter. A joint-use agreement was considered, but Schleder did not see how that would work to Oasis Texas Brewing’s benefit, and they agreed, he said.
Another consideration presented last fall by the legal team was for New Belgium to buy the Slow Ride brand from Oasis Texas Brewing. Schleder and his team assessed a value for their product and offered it for sale to New Belgium, but “they countered pennies on the dollar to what we already spent on the brand,” he said.
After Oasis Texas Brewing declined New Belgium’s offer, the next time they heard from New Belgium was by way of a lawsuit, Schleder said.
Oasis Texas Brewing continues to produce its Slow Ride pale ale, however, New Belgium isn’t currently using the name Slow Ride on any of its session IPA labels in Texas, according to the company’s website.