20 June 2017Trademarks

Admiral Nelson rum infringes Captain Morgan trademarks, says Canadian court

Canada’s Federal Court has ruled in favour of drinks maker Diageo, saying that Heaven Hill’s Admiral Nelson rum directly infringes its Captain Morgan brand and awarding injunctive relief.

Diageo sued Heaven Hill, a spirits producer, in 2014 for infringement.

It claimed that Admiral Nelson is “clearly intended to mimic the Captain Morgan brand to trade upon the goodwill and create consumer confusion”.

Heaven Hill hit back at those claims and told the court that Diageo brought the action in a bid to “stifle the competition”, according to the ruling.

Diageo owns several Canadian registered trademarks including TMA864,267, which is a picture of a pirate with one leg on a barrel, as well as TMA863,667 for the logo on its spiced rum branding.

The Admiral Nelson logo depicts a pirate standing holding a bottle, and Heaven Hill began shipping it to Canada in 2013.

Diageo said in the claim that “the Admiral Nelson rum brand is clearly intended to mimic the Captain Morgan brand”.

In a decision handed down on June 12, Judge Keith Boswell agreed that advertising in Canada of the Admiral Nelson rum products constitutes trademark infringement.

He ruled in favour of Diageo and ordered an injunction stopping the sale and distribution of Admiral Nelson in Canada, a destruction of all bottles that would “offend such injunction”, damages (amount to be decided in July) and attorneys’ fees.

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