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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 25, 2007 4:48 PM. The previous post in this blog was Brew-ha-ha foaming over. The next post in this blog is Here's the EVAK tagger, police say. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bullies take half step back

The Sam Adams beer people are still behaving like arrogant dum-dums in their ongoing hassle of the fans of Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams over supposed trademark infringement in the use of internet domain names that contain the Adams name in connection with the politician's pending run for mayor.

A reader who sent a critical comment to the beer people yesterday tells us that he got this response:

Thank you for getting in touch. This story has really taken on a life of its own, and we'd like to take a minute to give you a little background.

First, let me say that if City Councilor Sam Adams had registered a web site using his name, we would not have an issue with it. Of course, he has a right to use his name. Our namesake, the patriot Samuel Adams stood for public service and free speech, and we do too.

However, an individual named Dave Anderson registered two domain names: and We could find no residential telephone listing for him at the address listed, so we wrote to him. There have been occasions in the past where people have attempted to use our name for commercial purposes, and this clearly is against the law. After he received our letter, we had a call from the legal department at Clear Channel and learned that Dave Anderson was a radio personality at Clear Channel's News radio 1190 KEX in Portland and that he had registered both domain names with the intent to give them to Councilor Sam Adams. Once we learned more about what was going on, we agreed that they could continue to use We asked them (and we thought we had their agreement) not to use because it creates confusion on the Web.

While we understand that kicking up a controversy makes good radio, I hope you'll understand that it was never our intent to thwart the efforts of Councilor Sam Adams in his run for Mayor. We have no issue with him using his own name. A more extensive Google search on our part for “Sam Adams Mayor” was in order and might have turned up information about the race for Mayor in Portland before we sent off that letter.

We appreciate your taking the time to write to us and to give us a chance to explain how this all came about.

Todd Bellomy
Consumer Relations Representative
The Boston Beer Company

"[P]eople have attempted to use our name for commercial purposes, and this clearly is against the law." I'm no trademark expert, but that doesn't sound to me like an accurate representation of the law. If there's no chance of anyone confusing "samadamsformayor" with anything having to do with the brewing company, what's their beef?

"[W]e understand that kicking up a controversy makes good radio." Hey, nobody in Portland started the nastiness here. The ugly demand letter came from Boston, and people here are just sticking up for their rights.

"Once we learned more about what was going on, we agreed that they could continue to use We asked them (and we thought we had their agreement) not to use because it creates confusion on the Web." Screw that. I read elsewhere that the brewing people's begrudging "permission" to use either domain was going to last only through the election. Screw that, too.

"Sam Adams" is a very, very, very common name. People who brand their companies with a very, very, very common name have to live with the consequences. Letting supporters of a real politician named Sam Adams express their support for him with an appropriately named web domain or two is just something that Boston Beer is going to have to live with.

Mark and Dave: Hold your ground, boys!

And the rest of us, stand with them. Fight back against corporate intellectual property bullying. Boycott Sam Adams beer!

UPDATE, 8:40 p.m.: Here's a petition that addresses the issue.

Comments (21)

By the time this Todd Bellomy clown gets done screwing this up, Dave Anderson will be regarded in the same light as Nelson Mandela.
Todd simply doesn't know cyber-squat.

Yeah...Talk about disingenuity.

I sent an email complaint and got the very same letter back. It's an online form letter, only with a privacy disclaimer appended to the bottom to scare you into not reproducing it yourself. Like you were taken into the sooper seekrut decision-making processes of Boston Brewing.

As if.

And that insipid claptrap about how their beer was named after an American patriot...the Sam Adams (who is probably rolling over in his grave with what's being done in his name)? Gag me with a spoon and wrap me in a 'Merikan flag.

Isn't this effort on the part of Boston Brewing an illicit interference in the electoral processes of the state of Oregon?

I'm tellin' you all, if you wrote before, write again. If you haven't written to complain - write. Tell 'em you want an areawide apology for their corporate arrogance and their attempt to interfere with our local elections.

"Boycott Sam Adams beer!"

No problem. Does anyone in this town actually drink that swill anyway?

Shhhhhhh! Of course not. But if word gets out across the internet, it could cost them big bucks elsewhere...

I don't see how a brewing company has a claim to a figure from American history. So if a company makes George Washington's beer, does that mean that modern human named George Washington can't have a website with his name in it?

George Washington's beer recipe:

It's already out.

Hee hee.

Seems to me that, by their actions, Boston Beer is infringing on the "Arrogant Bastard" copyright.

'Scuse me. That should read "Arrogant Bastard" trademark.

He he! There's no monopoly on stupidity.

Wait a sec.

Jack - where's that website you found awhile back ...that if you entered your name in could find out how many of "you" there are? Remember that one? We regulars had fun that day ... punching in our own others (like Sam Adams).

It's in your archives somewhere.

Let's drag it out and show how many Sam Adams across America are getting (or should be getting) Todd Bellomy letters.

Those bean heads tricked me. I thought my reply was a personal one since it specifically addressed my complaint. Turns out it is the same one everyone else got.

To heck with the bean beer. Let um get gas.

The name site is here. It's showing 248 people named Sam Adams in the United States.

How about a charter amendment, or ordinance, that reserves the mayor position to Sam Adams? Anyone that wants to run can simply change their name to Sam Adams.

I now have a better understanding of the phrase "tempest in a teapot"

I received the exact same e mail in response to my complaint.

We used to drink Sam Adams at airports that otherwise offered no microbrews. No more. Sam Adams is dead to us (the beer company infringing on the patriot's trademark, not the Portland City councilman).

I'm not sure that the boycott might not actually increase their beer sales in Portland. Hey: let's rename Interstate "Sam Adams Boulevard". That will really frost them. No wait, that's a little premature.

On KTOO in Juneau, this story is on repeat.

Just another excuse to continue drinking our tasty local brew.
Yup, got the same letter.

I suggest we expand the boycott to include all products AND politicians with the Sam Adams moniker.

Or, we could let the CEO of Boston Brewing run P-town. Lord knows he couldn't do any worse than an unopposed progressive.

Go to the local supermarket, dress up as corporate executives, and hold a Portland Sam Adams Beer Party. The original Sam Adams would have approved.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
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Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
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Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
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Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
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Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
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Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
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Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
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Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
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Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
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