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AB InBev files complaint against small French brewer of 'Leff'

13:53 02/01/2022

Mega-brewer AB InBev has asked a Breton start-up brewery to stop using the name Leff, which it describes as unacceptably too similar to famous Dinant Abbey beer Leffe.

The Belgian brewing giant - known for Leffe, Jupiler and Hoegaarden - has stated its wish to avoid any legal proceedings but nevertheless intends to defend the Leffe brand, a flagship and international brand in its portfolio.

Originally from Lanleff (Côtes-d'Armor), Philippe Le Saux named his company Brasserie Artisanale du Leff after the name of the river that passes through his native village. He filed the trademark on 13 October at the French National Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI).

Two months later, AB InBev's lawyers sent him a letter asking him to quit using the name. The Lanleff brewer, which is planning a production of around 1,500 bottles per year, refuses to comply with the brewing giant's request.

In a statement, AB InBev deplored the fact that, when pronounced, there is no difference between the two brands.

“The existence of Leff and Leffe beers would confuse and mislead consumers,” it said. “In addition, there are also similarities to our Leffe brand visuals and an obvious reference to our abbey beer.

“AB InBev hopes that a solution will be found and awaits the evaluation of the French administration in charge of trademarks. "

Faced with the refusal of the small brewer to comply, it will be up to the French administration to decide in early January.

Written by Richard Harris