MERCEDES-Benz is embroiled in a bitter row with a brewery over claims the drunkard stole its logo – but neither will back down.
The iconic car maker has taken action against a Sunderland microbrewery, threatening legal action if owner Julio Romero Johnson doesn’t back down.
Lawyers for Mercedes have served a “notice of impending opposition” to the Wear Beer brewery, giving Julio a month to respond.
If he doesn’t do this, he faces extortionate bills that would destroy his small business, based in the pub’s basement.
Julio, 33, who founded the small brewery this summer, said he registered for the logo in July and was faced with a two-month period during which anyone could object.
“It was the last day of that time when the letter (from Mercedes-Benz) arrived,” he said.
“I thought, ‘Damn, this is not what I expected’.”
“I was thinking about what should I do? I wanted to be against it, but it was scary.”
“It costs a lot of money to fight them, and if you lose, you have to pay them.”
The brewery owner claimed he had responded to the industry giant, but the latter still insisted he drop his similar logo.
“They said the three-pointed star in the circle belonged to them,” he said.
“They haven’t sent out a cease and desist letter yet, so I’m holding onto it for now.”
“It’s just the three-pointed star and it says ‘Wear Beer’ with a big worm on it. So I don’t think anyone will confuse between this and a Mercedes dealer.”
Julio, who moved to the UK from Spain, explained that her creation features a three-pointed red star – taken from an emblem used by the International Brigades in the 1936 Spanish Civil War.
“The actual design of the logo was done by my uncle from Spain, he is a graphic designer and he decided to help me,” said Julio.
“I’m from Spain and it’s something that connects Britain and Spain as a lot of people came here to fight in Spain.”
“It’s about connecting them, it’s simply the connection between my home country and my adopted country.”
“A lot of people died in Spain, and Sunderland also sent some people into battle.”
And Julio is firmly convinced that he will not give in to Mercedes-Benz.
“I drive a Peugeot. If Mercedes offered me a free car every five years, I would be very happy with that,” he scoffed.
“I think I’ll keep using it for now, they just resisted registering it. It will be well protected, we’ll have to see what happens.”
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“It’s not unusual, it’s just stupid.”
Mercedes-Benz has been contacted for comment.