D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. was nailed with a copyright infringement suit in Pennsyvania on Wednesday. The nation’s fourth largest brewer is in a dispute with Adam D’Addario, a New Jersey graphic artist who helped shape the brewer’s corporate identity. D’Addario has designed logos and labels that uniquely identify the nation’s oldest brewery.
For more than twenty years, D’Addario had a good working relationship with Yuengling. During that time the Pottsville brewer rose to become the largest American-owned brewery. The dispute between the brewer and the artist began when Yuengling rejected D’Addario’s design for its new Oktoberfest beer. Although it was well-received by the marketing department, the design was rejected by CEO Dick Yuengling Jr.
After that rejection, the relationship began to sour. D’Addario was asked to train an in-house person to do graphic design. After training was completed, the Voorhees graphic artist was essentially cut off from Yuengling, according to his lawyer. Now it seems, the in-house artist borrowed D’Addario’s 2010 design elements for Yuengling’s 2012 product design.
According to D’Addario, the design on Yuengling’s Oktoberfest labels and tap handles is essentially the one he proposed two years ago. For at least a year, he has requested compensation from the brewer but his invoices have not been processed. The New Jersey artist estimates the design is now on about $14 million dollars worth of beer.
According to the lawsuit, D’Addario is seeking:
- At least $80,000 in lost compensation.
- An order barring Yuengling’s use of the design without compensation.
- Statutory damages of up to $150,000.
- Attorney fees and reimbursement for the cost of filing the suit.
UPDATE: Philly Metro has pictures of D’Addario’s 2010 design proposal.