Anheuser-Busch InBev has been sued for their "[i]mmoral, unethical, oppressive, [and] unscrupulous" use of a Native American official tribal logo and slogan.
The North Carolina Lumbee Tribe has filed a lawsuit against the beer conglomerate for allegedly using the tribe’s trademarked logo and slogan, "Heritage, Pride, and Strength," to promote various products throughout the state. The lawsuit reported that the illegal, unauthorized use of the logo and slogan of the tribe implies an association between the tribe, Anheuser-Busch, and the distributor, R.A. Jeffreys Distributing Company.
"The lawsuit was filed because of the confusion and outrage created by advertisements for Budweiser and Bud Light," the tribe explained on its website.
As alcohol abuse has been frequently associated with Native American culture, the Lumbee Tribe believes this infringement is incredibly offensive and has caused irreversible damage to the tribe.
"[The companies’] use of the Lumbee tribe marks has created a significant amount of actual confusion in the community, including in the minds of some members of the Lumbee Tribe, and in the minds of consumers who mistakenly believe that the Lumbee Tribe has given Defendants permission to use the marks in a way that many members of the tribe find offensive," the suit stated.
The lawsuit came about as efforts to settle out of court were not successful.
"The Lumbee Tribe has been and will continue to be irreparably injured by Defendants’ conduct," the suit added. "The Lumbee Tribe cannot be adequately compensated for these injuries by monetary remedies alone, and the Lumbee Tribe has no adequate remedy at law for Defendants’ infringement of its rights."
In a statement, a spokesperson from R.A. Jeffreys said the promotional materials were created by the distribution company "to honor the rich heritage of the Lumbee Tribe," and did not include any input directly from Anheuser-Busch.
"R.A. Jeffreys regrets any offense that may have been taken to the use of the materials in which the Lumbee Tribe claims an interest, and R.A. Jeffreys will not make any further use of such materials unless specifically permitted to do so by the Lumbee Tribe," the statement continued. "R.A. Jeffreys values and respects the heritage of the communities in which its customers live and work."