Star Wars creator George Lucas is suing a New York brewpub for trademark infringement. Both Lucas and his company, Lucasfilm, have filed suit against Syracuse, New York’s Empire Brewing—not simply for using the word “Empire,” but for recently trying to trademark its Strikes Bock. Lucasfilm says Empire’s Strikes Bock could “infringe its trademark rights and case confusion among consumers,” noting that Lucasfilm already operates a vineyard in California that makes Star Wars-themed wine. (Not that wine is beer, but anyway.)
Though Empire Brewing Company owner David Katleski says his company has been making Strikes Bock for seven years without incident or complaint from Lucasfilm, the brewer’s case is fairly weak. Katleski argues that consumers know the difference between The Empire Strikes Back and “Strikes Bock, by Empire,” but as The Guardian notes, the company is clearly playing on the movie’s success, using Star Wars references on its website when referring to the beer, including “May the hops be with you” in its description of the “clean and refreshing” spring lager.