New York Judge Asks Jury to Define ‘Beer’ in Corona Licensing and Trademark Agreement Case

Takeaway: When drafting licensing and trademark agreements, use clear and specific language to avoid future confusion.

Last year, Modelo filed suit against Constellation Brands, the U.S. distributor of the Mexican brewer’s popular Corona beer, stating their “Corona Hard Seltzer” breached a licensing agreement and infringed trademarks. Modelo claims their agreement only allowed Constellation to sell “beer” under the Corona name. Constellation disagrees, saying the definition of “beer” in the agreement also covered hard seltzer.

Judge Lewis Kaplan of the southern district of New York was considering the request from Modelo to hold Constellation liable for breaching the contract, but Kaplan ruled that Modelo was not entitled to an immediate pre-trial win. The judge is now setting up a jury trial, specifically on defining the word “beer” in their trademark licensing agreement.

Kaplan said the definition of “beer” in the agreement was too ambiguous to determine before trial, but Modelo’s argument might be stronger.

Photo Credit: thedrinksbusiness .com/2022/12/the-term-beer-to-be-defined-in-corona-hard-seltzer-case/