Lucasfilm is taking a brewpub to court over the name of a beer in order to protect it's line of Star Wars themed wines, reports the Post-Standard.
The brewmasters at Empire Brewing Co. in Syracuse, New York conceived of a bock beer, a dark brew commonly served in the fall, that had an "extremely clean and refreshing" hoppy character. They named it Empire Strikes Bock. In the course of their expansion, Empire went to trademark the name. That's when they drew the attention of the all-seeing eye of Lucasfilm's legal team, which filed a notice in opposition to that trademark.
It's worth noting that Lucasfilm isn't asking Empire to stop selling the beer, or even to change the name of it. They just don't want them to own a trademark for the name.
Lucasfilm, and its parent company Disney, is inclined to protect its trademarks and as such the formal complaint reads in just about the same way that all other trademark notices read. That is, until you get to the part about the Lucasfilm vineyard.
"Skywalker Ranch isn't just a place to work," reads the jobs page at Lucasfilm.com. "It's a world all its own. Employees can visit the produce stand to purchase organic vegetables. Jams, olive oil and wine are produced right here in the fields and vineyards."
Lucasfilm contends that selling revelers in New York state drinks inspired by a galaxy far, far away would impose upon their right to do the same in California. Therefore, the Empire Brewing Co. could cause legitimate confusion with consumers aged 21 and over.
David Katleski, owner of the Empire, said he'll fight the trademark dispute in court, but he's just not sure how long he can hold out before Lucasfilm's lawyers drop out of orbit.
"It's kind of a 'big dog against small dog' thing,'' Katleski said. "We've had this beer for seven years, and we [sought a trademark] because we don't want to infringe on any other beers or anyone else's trademarks."
Edit: The original version of this article stated George Lucas was taking Empire to court. That's clearly not correct. Lucasfilm is.