Dick Kreck is no longer a staffer at the Denver Post, as he makes clear in a voicemail introduction still lingering in the Post system: In the message, he explains that he accepted a buyout offer circa June 2007 and won't be in the office again -- "ever." Nonetheless, he continues to write an occasional beer column for the paper under the banner "Mr. Beer" -- and he plans to continue doing so despite a complaint he received from an Arizona-based homebrewing-supply company named, yes, Mr. Beer. Kreck explains the situation in the following e-mail:
I got a letter from the guy who owns the company that makes MR BEER, the homebrewing kit, telling me that he has a copyright on "MR BEER" and that I had to stop using it, even though I've been using it on my beer column for more than 15 years. Post lawyer looked into it, found that he has a very limited copyright, so we are going to continue to use it.
That's news to Eddie Yueh, owner and president of Mr. Beer. According to him, "The words 'Mr. Beer' are trademarked, period. So he is infringing on our trademark."
Perhaps -- but any determination of wrongdoing would likely pivot on the date when the trademark was established. Yueh thinks it's been in place "on the order of about thirteen years." As for how long Kreck's been employing the moniker, there's evidence to back up his estimate above. A search of the Nexis data service turned up a "Mr. Beer" column from the Post dated December 21, 1994 -- just under fifteen years ago.
In the meantime, Yueh says he hasn't received a response following his letter to Kreck; in fact, he initially thought I was Kreck's representative, rather than a journalist reporting about the dust-up. When asked if he might pursue legal action now that the Post has apparently decided not to give up its use of the "Mr. Beer" handle, Yueh offers a "no comment."
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Meaning there's still a possibility of a Mr. Beer vs. Mr. Beer showdown.