- Coors Faces $12.5 Million Lawsuit Over iPint
- December 2, 2008
- Law Firm: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP - Los Angeles Office
Molson Coors Brewing Co. is the target of a lawsuit alleging that its popular iPhone application, the iPint, infringes on another application called iBeer.
The lawsuit was filed on October 10 by Hottrix, a small Las Vegas company that owns the rights to the iBeer application. It seeks $12.5 million in damages. According to the complaint, London ad agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay contacted Hottrix to license its $2.99 iBeer application, which uses the accelerometer inside the iPhone to simulate drinking a beer. After Hottrix declined the offer, Beattie McGuinness hired Illusion Labs in Sweden to create a close copy of the application, the complaint alleges. The iPint, which was developed to promote Coors’ beer brand Carling, was released free of charge, causing iBeer sales to suffer, the complaint states. The suit alleges that there have been more than 6 million downloads of the free iPint.
iPint and iBeer both appear to fill users' iPhones with beer, which they can then "drink" by tipping the phone. iPint was developed as part of a mini-game created for Carling, called Barslide. In it, players who successfully help a sliding pint avoid obstacles on the bar are rewarded with a virtual beverage. Users can access the beer-tipping feature without playing the game and the lawsuit alleges that the game is included only to “create a false distinction" between iPint and iBeer.
Coors has withdrawn iPint from the U.S. and Australian versions of Apple's App Stores, but the lawsuit says the program is still available in other parts of the world.