*UPDATE* Lumbee Tribe & North Carolina Distributor Settle Trademark Lawsuit
Last month, PorchDrinking reported on the federal lawsuit that the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina filed against Anheuser-Busch and R.A. Jeffreys, a local A-B distribution company for using the Tribe’s logo and slogan in Bud Light ads without permission. The ads incorporated the Tribe’s name, official tribal seal and its tribal slogan phrase “Heritage, Pride & Strength.” Notably, after the Tribe filed suit, it came to light that A-B had no knowledge that R.A. Jeffreys made and subsequently displayed these ads.
While the beer ads were promptly removed once the word got out to the Tribe and its subsequent outrage, that did not stop the Tribe from filing the trademark infringement lawsuit.
However, in the weeks the followed the suit, it appears the Tribe, the plaintiff and R.A. Jeffreys–one of the named defendants–have come to an agreement.
On July 1, during the Lumbee Tribe’s yearly State of the Tribe Address, Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin announced that R.A. Jeffreys made a “sizeable donation” to the Tribe in exchange for the Tribe dropping the lawsuit against the company.
Previously, Chairman Godwin noted on his Facebook page at the time that “The ads are particularly offensive to Lumbee People.” Nonetheless, last week Goodwin announced this legal development to his roughly 55,000 tribal members that the agreement has led to “a resolution of all claims against Anheuser-Busch and R.A. Jeffreys,” effectively dropping all pending trademark infringement allegations.
More specifically, the Raleigh-based beer distribution company has promised to make a donation to Lumbee Land Development, the Tribe’s non-profit organization. This non-profit offers rehabilitation programs to Lumbee tribal members, as well as services pertaining to housing, new construction, tribal enrollment, volunteer, energy, youth, and elders. According the Tribe, this donation will go towards funding for youth and educational programs.
While the exact amount of the donation is unknown, the two parties’ joint statement maintained that, “both the Lumbee Tribe and R.A. Jeffreys are committed to moving forward from this experience in a positive and mutually respectful way.”