The Star Early Edition

Bit­ter row brew­ing over beers

- GOITSEMANG TLHABYE

MAMELODI is on the verge of hav­ing a beer named af­ter the town­ship – but beer lovers may not be able to in­dulge in it this fes­tive sea­son, as two brew­ers are get­ting in a froth over the ex­clu­sive rights.

In one cor­ner is Vusi Beaukamp, who claims he and his brother reg­is­tered a com­pany called Gaut­eng Brew­eries in 2016 in the hope of cre­at­ing proudly lo­cal brews.

Beaukamp said they then de­cided to name the beer af­ter Mamelodi and sub­se­quently reg­is­tered it with the Department of Trade and In­dus­try. They named it Mamelodi Strong Beer.

He said he be­lieved that any­one else wish­ing to reg­is­ter a busi­ness as­so­ci­ated with Mamelodi or beer could not do so as he and his brother held the trade­mark.

Beaukamp said his com­pany had al­ready cre­ated the mock-up and was plan­ning to launch the beer ahead of the fes­tive sea­son when his hopes were dashed by an­other brewer.

“I started see­ing the con­cept of Mamelodi Lager on so­cial me­dia and this freaked me out. I found it too co­in­ci­den­tal that an­other per­son started a sim­i­lar idea when we are brew­ing from the same place… I don’t un­der­stand whether he un­der­stands the process of trade­marks.”

He said he did not want any mud­sling­ing as, at the end of the day, they were both “black guys from the town­ship” try­ing to bring a proudly lo­cal prod­uct to the mar­ket. “Ev­ery time we have Euro­pean brands flood­ing our mar­kets with their prod­ucts and I wanted to change that,” Beaukamp said.

In the op­po­site cor­ner is Melusi Hlempu, founder of Mamelodi Lager. He said he made the de­ci­sion to get into the beer mar­ket last year and name it af­ter the vi­brant town­ship where he grew up.

Hlempu said he went to the Com­pa­nies and In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Com­mis­sion (CIPC) and put in an ap­pli­ca­tion. He picked up the name of the other brewer on the data­base.

He said that Beaukamp ap­proached him a few months later ques­tion­ing him about the com­pany, but he re­ferred him to the CIPC.

Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria ex­pert on in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty law Chris Job warned that, as mat­ters stood, nei­ther of them had the trade­mark rights.

He said the law did not al­low a per­son to mo­nop­o­lise the name of an area as it was pub­lic do­main. This could be al­lowed only in ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances.

 ??  ?? PROUDLY BLACK LA­BEL: Melusi Hlempu’s Mamelodi Lager.
PROUDLY BLACK LA­BEL: Melusi Hlempu’s Mamelodi Lager.

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