Alexey Lysenko /
18 December 2014Trademarks

Diageo crowned winner in whisky lawsuit

Drinks maker Diageo has claimed victory in a trademark dispute surrounding its Crown Royal whisky.

The multinational successfully convinced a jury that the Crown Club whisky range, produced by Mexcor, infringed its trademark for the Crown Royal brand of whisky.

In a statement yesterday (December 17), Diageo said it was pleased with the decision and that Mexcor had been “diluting” its brand.

Following the decision, handed down at the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Mexcor has been ordered to change the name and packaging of its whisky.

Mexcor’s Crown Club product was sold in small bags similar to the purple drawstring sacks used to package Crown Royal, for which Diageo has a registered trademark.

When it sued Mexcor, in March this year, Diageo claimed the company was purposefully trying to confuse people and was using similar label fonts and emphasising the term "Crown" to use the success of Crown Royal to its advantage.

A month before that lawsuit, Diageo filed a separate lawsuit against Mexcor in New York for allegedly producing adverts attacking Crown Royal.

Diageo, which later dismissed its own complaint, claimed Mexcor was running a series of adverts that described an unnamed competing whisky—adorned in packaging resembling Crown Royal's—as "poison" that it is unfit for Texans.

Nicole D’Amato, director and senior counsel for IP at Diageo North America, said: “We take the protection of our brands and intellectual property extremely seriously and will work diligently to protect them.”

Mexcor has been contacted for comment.

Diageo has previously been involved in attempts to protect its drinks brands.

Earlier this year, WIPR reported that it was involved in a trademark tussle with New York-based organisation The Explorers Club surrounding its Johnnie Walker whisky. The dispute has since been settled out of court.

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More on this story

8 September 2016   Drinks maker Diageo and Canadian rival Mexcor are heading back to court after a US appeals court vacated a permanent injunction against Mexcor for trademark infringement.