BMB iPint hit by $12.5 million lawsuit

Beattie McGuinness Bungay's Carling iPint application has become the subject of a $12.5 million lawsuit, filed in the US last week against Carling's parent, Coors.

A Nevada based developer, Hottrix, is suing the brewer for copyright infringement of its iBeer application.

The iBeer tool for the iPhone was developed before BMB's iPint and, for a charge of $2.99, allows iPhone users to play a video that, when held at the right angle, appears as if the user is drinking the beer.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles County, Beattie McGuinness Bungay contacted Hottrix to agree a licence for the application, but was turned down.

The agency subsequently developed its iPint application for Carling that it says is significantly different from the Hottrix application in that it utilises the accelerometer inside the iPhone to simulate drinking beer, whereas the iBeer application plays a video.

Hottrix's lawyers are arguing that, by creating a similar application and releasing it for free, Coors has caused the sales of iBeer to suffer.

Lawyers for both parties are currently in discussion and it is not yet known whether the dispute will reach the US courts.