Transfer Pricing Associates

Duff Beer: from cartoon to real life

post Monday October 15, 2012


Everyone knows the popular cartoon series “The Simpsons”, some may even remember the specifics, for example the beer sold in the Simpsons town Springfield, called Duff.  Two Colombian men decided to take their love for The Simpsons to a new level, Oscar and Alvares Ballesteros had a moment of enlightenment during their stay in Mexico and thought why not bring the beer from The Simpsons to life. After doing some research on the name “Duff” they found out that it was not yet registered in Mexico so they decided to start producing the beer.  After production and sales in selected countries in South America they decided to operate under the name “Duh” however the labeling remained the same, identical to that of the animated series.

Now here is the issue, as you probably guessed, American company Fox International who own The Simpsons cartoon series, has registered the name “Duff”. The beer company of the young entrepreneurs is registered as Duff Suramerica (South America), but billed as Duh. Yet due to the practically identical typography, advertising and visuals of the beer with that of the beer in The Simpsons, they could face hefty litigation as copyright and brand laws have little mercy.

The claim that those who read “Duff” instead of “Duh” (see image for better understanding as the double “h” can easily be misread as “ff”) are reading it incorrectly. Also, they claim that because Duff is being sold in the fictional city Springfield, but their beer is being sold in real life, it does not fall under the realm of copyright infringement.  “In real life Fox does not sell beer, if we were selling Duff in Springfield, then the infringement claims would be a different story” says co-founder Oscar Ballesteros.

However Fox will not accept these arguments and will “continue to the end to defend their brand” says Alicia Lloreda, Fox representative in charge of the case.

She continued to comment “what worries us is that the investigation on the part of the prosecution is taking so long”. The lawsuit was filed in March of 2011, and to date they have not had any results. Neither the founders nor the producers and distributors of the beer have been brought to justice.

In the meanwhile the relatively “exotic” product is still being sold in bars across South America and is gaining popularity worldwide.


Image source: Free Digital Photos


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