Mariah Carey faces criticism from Irish distiller over TM dispute


Rory O'Neill

Mariah Carey faces criticism from Irish distiller over TM dispute

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An Irish distiller has called on popstar Mariah Carey to “stop claiming trademark rights” to its products, after the launch of Carey’s ‘Black Irish’ cream liqueur brand.

Carey launched the brand this month, but the EU trademark for ‘Black Irish’ is currently held by Irish distiller Darker Still Spirits, which sells a blend of whiskey and stout under the name.

At the time of announcing her own Black Irish brand earlier this month, a dispute between Carey and Darker Still at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) remained unresolved, Irish news outlet The Currency first reported.

“The Darker Still Spirits Company can confirm that despite unfounded objections from Mariah’s team we still have the legal ownership of the ‘Black Irish’ trademark in the EU and UK,” said David Phelan, one of the Irish company’s founders, on Wednesday, August 25.

“Myself and my partners in Darker Still are collective veterans of the Irish drinks industry and it is unprecedented that we are defending our position against a US company, within an Irish industry that we have helped support for over 30 years,” said Mr Phelan.

Irish cream liqueur is a protected geographical indication (GI) in the EU, meaning any product labelled as such must be produced on the island of Ireland and under certain conditions.

The Irish Department of Agriculture has verified seven producers to label their products with the GI, including Bailey’s manufacturer Diageo. According to The Currency, Carey’s team has not yet responded to a request to identify the manufacturer of her ‘Black Irish’ product.

Phelan said that “questions are now being prepared to Mariah’s brand team to ascertain how an Irish Cream Liqueur could have been produced on the island of Ireland without the relevant EU trademark permissions”.

“What is certain is that we will continue fighting any trademark objection whilst also engaging with the European Commission in regards to specific legalities surrounding Irish cream production. This will provide clarity on the matter and resolve an unfortunate situation, not of our making,” Phelan added.

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Mariah Carey, Black Irish, Irish cream liqueur, distiller, drinks, trademark, EUIPO, GI