Bar sued for game in which customers hammer nails into stump

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Throwing darts is good. Throwing axes is pretty straightforward. But if your bar game is all about nailing a stump, things could get tricky.

A Minnesota bar has been charged with infringing the trademarks of another company by allowing patrons to participate in driving nails.

According to the lawsuit, the lumberjack in Stillwater had purchased a one-year license for the Hammer-Schlagen-branded game, in which contestants see who can drive a nail into a stump with the least amount of hammer blows.

At year’s end, the owners of the Lumberjack did not renew with the licensor, a company called WRB Inc.

Several months later, according to the lawsuit, the WRB chief executive stepped into the lumberjack and saw four of his company’s “dressed” stumps take hold. Other customers called the game Hammer-Schlagen, as did employees when they asked their visitor to buy a $ 2 nail for them to play, he said.

The lawsuit alleges that the lumberjack engaged in “illegal, unfair or fraudulent commercial acts of unfair competition” in violation of state law through his unauthorized use of the WRB trademark and trade dress.

In addition to defending its name and the appearance of the equipment – stump, hammer, brackets – WRB claims brand protection for slogans such as’ hammer yourself ‘,’ be nailed ‘,’ bend ‘and’ have wood? “

Lumberjack owner Sara Jesperson said Thursday she could not comment on the ongoing litigation.

Hammer-Schlagen – “schlagen” meaning “to strike” – was invented by the son of German immigrant bar owners in Grant, Minnesota. In the 1980s, another family member standardized the game and its equipment and gave it the brand name. The resulting company, WRB, acquired federal trademark registration for its logo in 2000.

Last year, the WRB filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court alleging that a Chaska faucet room had been using a counterfeit Hammer-Schlagen strain since 2019. Both sides settled the case. in March ; the taproom is no longer authorized to use the game.

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