Two rival breweries are fighting over the right to resurrect Fort Pitt Beer, which was once the top-selling beer in Pittsburgh.
Jones Brewing Co. of Smithton, which has brewed the drink in the past, is vying with Duke Brewing over the right to the product branding.
While Jones has received federal and state approval for a label for Fort Pitt, Duke’s Mark Dudash acquired the Fort Pitt trademark in 2009 after it lapsed.
“The circuit courts are clear. Once it lapses, it lapses,” Mr. Dudash told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “They’re going to run this into the market, and my position is they don’t have any legs to stand on.”
According to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records, the original trademark for Fort Pitt beer was cancelled in July 1996.
The beer was popular in the decades following World War II, but was last brewed a decade ago. However, Jones Brewing Co. president Sandra Podlucky said Fort Pitt remained important to the company.
“It’s not like Fort Pitt’s been abandoned or anything,” she said. “It’s been one of our labels forever. Maybe we should have registered it, but we didn’t think we had to.”
She explained that Jones is consulting with intellectual property lawyers and considering how best to proceed.