Rival Yorkshire brewers conclude four-year legal battle

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Yorkshire

Legal battle: The disputed emblem
Legal battle: The disputed emblem
Two rival Yorkshire brewers have concluded a four-year legal battle over the use of the county's distinctive White Rose on their beer bottles. Mr...

Two rival Yorkshire brewers have concluded a four-year legal battle over the use of the county's distinctive White Rose on their beer bottles.

Mr Justice Arnold blamed "Yorkshire pride" for the length of the legal proceedings between Samuel Smith Brewery and its rival Cropton Brewery, in a ruling at the High Court,

Samuel Smith has trademarked a particular version of the Yorkshire white rose which it uses on its beer pumps and labels.

It accused Cropton Brewery of trademark infringement​ when its rival started making a beer called Yorkshire Warrior, which used a slighty different emblem, and raised over £10,000 for the Yorkshire Regiment in 2009.

Cropton founder Phil Lee said he got permission from the Yorkshire Regiment to use its emblem — a lion carrying the standard of St George above a white rose — on the beer and pump clips.

Sam Smith also claimed trademark infringement against Cropton over the Yorkshire Bitter it brewed for Marks & Spencer, with a white rose on the label.

According to the Telegraph, the judge criticised both parties in his High Court ruling and declared the dispute a "stalemate".

He added: "The dispute is one which ought to have been capable of settlement out of court a long time ago. Instead, it has grown into a case which is out of all proportion to what is at stake in commercial terms.

"One explanation for this is Yorkshire pride, but I fear that the English legal system bears a measure of responsibility as well."

Cropton were ruled to have infringed Samuel Smith's trademark rights on Yorkshire Warrior labels, but not on Yorkshire Bitter labels.

Mr Justice Arnold ordered Cropton to alter the design of its Warrior label but made no order for payment of damages.

Cropton has pledged to give profits from the sale of Yorkshire Warrior - about £20,000 - to Samuel Smith, who will then donate them to the Help For Heroes charity.

Related topics: Legislation

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