Godzilla firm threatens to sue Hackney Wick's Howling Hops Brewery over 'Cogzilla' beer
PUBLISHED: 17:02 29 September 2016 | UPDATED: 17:27 30 September 2016
The multi-billion-pound Japanese film company that owns the rights to Godzilla has torn through Hackney Wick to crush a craft beer brand.
Howling Hops Brewery in Queen’s Yard and popular Old Street cycling cafe Look Mum, No Hands were sent cease and desist letters last week over their new pale ale – called Cogzilla.
Lawyers for Toho Co Ltd, which has owned the rights to the fictional monster since its film debut in 1954, said the combination of the name in conjunction with a “lizard-like/monster-like/reptile-like character and a city-scape” gave the impression it was endorsed by the guys at Godzilla and would damage the brand.
Threatening legal action if it was not stopped, they said: “Our client will not object to the use of the Cogzilla name alone, provided it is not combined with the use of lizard-like, monster-like or reptile-like imagery and/or a city-scape or other imagery or indicia attributable to Godzilla and the Godzilla films.”
They said such imagery included: “A colossal character in a city-scape crushing or stomping on the city, buildings, cars, people or in any other setting where the character destroys cities, villages, or mountains.”
It also includes any setting where the character “breathes fire” or “emerges from the ocean or water.”
The brewers didn’t chew it over for very long before agreeing to discontinue the beer, which had done a roaring trade in both venues and was nearly out anyway.
Howling Hops owner Peter Holt defended his product’s branding as “a bit of fun” and questioned whether the action was necessary.
He told the Gazette: “I just thought it was a bit heavy handed. I don’t know whether they appreciated just how small the businesses involved were. They perhaps thought we were going to make it a national drink.
“I can only assume they have a contract with people to protect the copyright, someone who spends all day Googling stuff.
“It’s hard to imagine how we would adversely affect what a film company is doing. They don’t normally sell beer, do they?”