This time, bully ended up sadder Budweiser

“Typically, the inequality of economic power between corporation and parodist determines who prevails in trademark infringement lawsuits…. The weaker party — the parodist — is effectively censored and denied due process.

“An unlikely victor against a trademark bully was Michael Berard, who in 1987 was a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Berard had designed a T-shirt [depicting] a beer can with a red, white and blue label — think Budweiser — but instead of grandiose references to great hops and barley, Berard substituted…   ‘Myrtle Beach Contains the Choicest Surf, Sun and Sand.’ Instead of ‘This Bud’s for You,’ the T-shirt read ‘This Beach is for You.’

“On appeal the judges found no likelihood consumers would falsely believe Bud had sanctioned the T-shirts…. Anheuser-Busch lost. But if Berard had known about the ‘Mutant of Omaha’ ruling [squelching a 1983 T-shirt protesting the nuclear arms race], he might never have dared to produce his innocuous T-shirt.”

— From “Brand Name Bullies” (2005) by David Bollier