Judge blames bitter war of roses on ‘Yorkshire pride’

By Anne Bruce

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Yorkshire

Yorkshire Regiment cap badge
Yorkshire Regiment cap badge
Independent Yorkshire brewery Cropton is working on a new design for labels on its beer bottles, following a four-year legal “battle of the roses”.

Tadcaster-based Samuel Smith Brewery trademarked a version of the Yorkshire white rose in the 1960s, which it uses on its beer pumps and labels.

But its rival Cropton Brewery started making a beer called Yorkshire Warrior.

Launched to raise money for the Yorkshire Regiment’s benevolent fund, this used a different version of the rose emblem, based on the regiment’s cap badge (pictured).

Samuel Smith claimed trademark infringement against Cropton over Yorkshire Warrior, as well as a bitter brewed by the latter for Marks & Spencer (M&S), which also had a white rose on the label.

Trademark infringement

The High Court in London ruled that Cropton had infringed Samuel Smith’s trademark rights on Yorkshire Warrior labels, but not on Yorkshire Bitter (M&S) labels.

Judge Mr Justice Arnold blamed “Yorkshire pride”​ for the length of legal proceedings between the two companies, as he gave his ruling on July 22.

He ordered Cropton to alter the design of its Yorkshire Warrior label, but made no order for payment of damages. Each brewery must pay its own costs.

Cropton general manager Andy Davidson told FoodManufacture.co.uk that his company had been able to donate some £20,000 to the Yorkshire Regiment from sales of the beer.

Davidson said that Cropton was working on an amended label for the bottles, following the ruling. But he was unable to comment on details of the new design or the cost of the case.

Related topics: Legal, Drinks

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