Mercedes-Benz has set its sights on a micro-brewery in Sunderland after claims it has copied its logo.
Wear Beer is being threatened with possible legal action by the German car giant if it fails to remove it from its current branding.
Solicitors on behalf of Mercedes-Benz sent the brewery founder Julio Romero Johnson a “notice of threatened opposition”.
He now has a month to respond to the request to stop using the logo or risk being hit with whopping legal costs.
Lawyers also expressed concern about the Mercedes-Benz brand being associated with alcohol.
Julio, 33, who set up the tiny brewery this summer, said: “I registered the logo on the 21st July. I then got a two-month period where it’s public and anyone can oppose it if they wanted to.
“It was the last day of that period when the letter arrived (from Mercedes-Benz). I was like ‘flipping heck that’s not what I was expecting’.
“I was thinking what do I do? I wanted to oppose it, but it was frightening.It’s a lot of money to fight them and then if you lose you have to pay them.
“I wrote a letter to them an they replied saying de-register the logo because they don’t want to be associated with an alcoholic beverage. They said they owned the three-pointed star in a circle.
“They haven’t sent a cease and desist letter yet so I’m going to keep it for now. It’s just the three pointed star and it says Wear Beer with a great big worm, so I don’t think anyone will get confused between this and a Mercedes dealership.”
The brewery’s logo shows a three-point red star which was inspired by the emblem used by the International Brigades as they fought fascism in the 1936 Spanish Civil War.
Julio, who moved to the UK from Valencia, Spain, added: “The actual design of the logo is from my uncle in Spain, he’s a graphic designer and he decided to help me out.
“I’m from Spain and it’s something that links Britain and Spain as a lot of people went here to fight in Spain.
“It’s trying to link them, it’s just that link between my home country and my adopted country.
“A lot of people died in Spain, Sunderland sent quite a few people to fight too.”
Julio, who operates out of a pub’s cellar in Sunderland, says he is up for the David and Goliath fight with Mercedes.
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He added: “We only launched in August and we work out from a small room in a basement in a pub.
“I get about eight or nine casks per batch. I’ve got four core beers, a bitter, a pale ale, stout, IPA.
“I drive a Peugeot. If Mercedes offered me a free car every five years I’d be quite happy with that.
“I think I’ll continue using it at the moment, they’ve only opposed the registration. It’ll be well protected, we’ll have to see what’s happening.
“It’s not unheard of, it’s just stupid really.”
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