A couple of weeks ago my brother-in-law Dan Pikarsky showed me an amusing little application on his iPhone. Basically it was a cyber beer. When you activate the feature, the phone's screen appears to be a full glass of beer. Tip the phone toward your lips and it appears you are drinking the brew.
Created by Steve Sheraton, this bit of web fun can be downloaded -- at $2.99 a pop. That's around the cost of a real glass of mainstream domestic suds in many taverns. Now the software developer wants real beer maker Molson Coors to cough up $12.5 million. Sheraton alleges that's the tab for lost sales caused by iPint, a promotion the brewer launched for Carling Lager in the United Kingdom.
Sheraton is alleging that iPint has committed copyright infringement. He says Molson Coors use of the virtual beer to advertise Carling is hurting sales of the original iBeer. He points to sales trends that show a decline in iBeer business since iPint has been available for free to anyone willing to view a Carling commercial on the Internet. The suit alleges iPint has been downloaded 6 million times.
Sheraton claims Molson Coors had contacted him about using iBeer for the campaign, but he refused the offer. Molson Coors said it fight the lawsuit in court.