Friday May 27th, the WWE reposted an image from the WWEShop Instagram account. The image is promoting a new John Cena tshirt that is a riff on the Papst Blue Ribbon beer logo. PBR quickly responded with a post of their own via Twitter.
Pro Wrestling Sheet reported WWE's official response:
A rep for WWE says, “As a content creator, WWE respects trademarks and intellectual property, and therefore will not proceed selling the merchandise, despite it being an original design clearly within fair use.”WWE has since pulled the tshirt from their merchant site and has replaced it with a similar, yet none trademark infringing alternative -- a wrong move according to Forbes.com.
Despite the similarities between the seemingly PBR-inspired Cena shirt and the PBR logo itself, there’s nothing to suggest that it would result in any confusion among wrestling fans, many of which may not have even heard of the beer brand.
Although the Pabst Brewing Company has the right to protect its intellectual property, WWE has proven in the past that Cena’s t-shirt designs indeed constitute “fair use” because, no matter how similar they may seem in comparison to other popular logos, they’re not similar enough to result in confusion.
Maybe if every WWE fan was a PBR drinker, but that certainly isn’t the case.