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D oh! Duff deal costs $2m
D'oh! Duff deal costs $2m

A Perth businessman was forced to throw out hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of beer made famous in The Simpsons television show after 20th Century Fox took legal action against him over copyright.

Allstates Liquor Wholesalers managing director John Da Silva had imported The Legendary Duff Beer from Germany for the past two years, selling it to bottle shops around Australia.

The brew, from the Eschwege monastery brewery and available in cans and bottles, bears a striking resemblance to the fictional brand of Duff Beer in The Simpsons.

Mr Da Silva was unavailable for comment but it is understood the copyright and trademark dispute, first raised in February, has been settled and cost him at least $2 million.

Allstates Liquor was the beer's sole importer in Australia and had to recall and destroy all remaining cans and bottles.

A big pile of the distinctive red cans could be seen being emptied and crushed at Mr Da Silva's company Bell-Vista Fruit and Veg in South Fremantle last week.

The International Beer Shop in West Leederville was one of many stores in WA to receive a cease and desist letter from global law firm Baker & McKenzie on behalf of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation in February.

The letter suggested traders seek legal advice and instructed them to stop the trade of Duff products and secure all Duff stock while Fox considered its position.

Manager Luke Panizza said the remaining Duff beer was picked up by Allstates Liquor soon after the letter arrived.

"The beer has been brewed in Germany legally and I have been told the people in Australia thought European copyright law was the exact same as Australian copyright law and then Fox in Australia found out about it and sent out cease and desists to everyone," he said.

"There is a Duff beer being manufactured in Mexico, obviously in Europe and there is a Duff soda that is manufactured legally in the US as far as I am aware."

In 1996, 20th Century Fox sued Lion Nathan brewery and its subsidiary the South Australian Brewing Company after it used the name Duff on one of its products.

Six cans of the discontinued Lion Nathan Duff and a "rare" case of Legendary Duff Beer cans are for sale online for almost $400 each.

The West Australian

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