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DUI Law Firm (Allegedly) Appropriates Beer Label Design for Ads

By William Peacock, Esq. on July 15, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

One of the more creative ideas I've had for advertising a law firm was to put a DUI law firm's phone number on bottle openers and either leave them on the counter at a liquor store or toss 'em into cases of beer at nearby stores. I never tried this -- it probably violates some ethical rule that I was too lazy to look up, but it seemed like a good idea in theory.

It's also a good idea, in theory for a law firm to mock a brewery's logo for advertising purposes: in this case, Sessions Law imitating Session Brewery. The best part is, the logo was not only used online, but it was also used on brown paper bag covers for beer cans, reports the ABA Journal. The brewery, unsurprisingly, is suing for trademark infringement.

A Salute to Creative Advertising

DUI defense is, often times, a commodity business: how many clients can you shuffle through the door. Granted, a good attorney is doing more than lining up plea after plea after plea, but still, especially for first-timers, it's not exactly a years-long capital habeas appeal. Quantity of cases is key.

And look at the competition: Google "DUI defense lawyer" in any major city and you'll probably find more DUI lawyers than there are drunks. You need to do something creative to stand out from the masses.

When it comes to people stupid enough to drive drunk, 57.8 percent of them are 18 to 29. As someone in that age range, a brown bag or a bottle opener would at least get me to check out their website. Of course, anyone with half a brain is going to dig deeper in the firm, but from checking out Sessions Law's website, Ben Sessions, is a SuperLawyer Rising Star, has won a pair of awards from the Georgia Defense of Drunking Drivers (DODD) Group, etc.

In short, the creative ad and resume would probably get him a phone call. It beats a bus bench.

However, it also got Sessions Law sued.

Oh Yeah, Trademarks

It's a dead ringer on the logos -- the rounded diamond logo, the cursive font (black with gray outline), and of course, the name.

The Portland, Oregon-based craft brewery behind the beer, Full Sail, is now suing the firm for trademark infringement, arguing that the firm's use of such a similar logo creates a likelihood of confusion with the beer brand. And while the ad campaign may be beneficial for the firm, the brewery understandably doesn't want to be associated with drunk driving -- it's seeking treble damages, attorney fees, and injunctive relief, reports the ABA Journal.

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