1 March 2018Trademarks

The Wild Geese accuses Bacardi of spying in TM clash

Whiskey maker The Wild Geese has accused Bacardi of spying on it, in the latest development of a trademark infringement dispute.

The Wild Geese filed a stipulation on Tuesday, February 27 at the US District Court for the Central District of California, alleging that Bacardi had “repeatedly ignored or sidestepped serious inquiries” from whiskey maker's legal team.

“Lodestar is concerned that Bacardi is attempting to intimidate witnesses, and is entitled to have Bacardi either admit or deny these requests, without objection, so that Lodestar can seek further relief if appropriate,” said the stipulation.

The trademark dispute dates back to 2014 and centres around the Wild Geese’s ‘Untamed’ logo (US trademark number 87,191,609), registered under international classes 32 and 33 for beverages including beers and spirits.

In 2013, Bacardi launched its ‘Bacardi Untameable’ marketing campaign to illustrate the story of the rumoured “untameable” Bacardi family. It filed to register the ‘Bacardi Untameable’ trademark for class 33 for alcoholic beverages in 2013.

The Wild Geese responded by filing an opposition with the US Patent and Trademark Office, claiming that Bacardi’s campaign had misappropriated its ‘Untamed’ trademark which was used to tell the story of the ‘wild geese’, the name given to the Irish diaspora.

The whiskey maker then sued Bacardi at the Californian court in August 2016 for trademark infringement.

In its stipulation, Lodestar, the parent company of The Wild Geese, claimed that Lodestar’s chairman and wife suspected that they were being followed by Bacardi.

Lodestar’s counsel had asked Bacardi in August 2017 if Bacardi was having the chairman and his wife followed.

The Wild Geese alleged that it took Bacardi months to respond and when it did, Bacardi did not deny the accusation, but said that it was “not aware of any surveillance”.

Bacardi called the claim a “baseless” allegation and an effort to confuse consumers.

The drinks company claimed that the claim of alleged surveillance was a move to “distract from the total lack of evidence” that Lodestar has to support its claims.

It also accused Lodestar of resorting to “name-calling and conspiracy theories to improperly influence these proceedings, publicly harass and defame” Bacardi.

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More on this story

23 February 2018   The Wild Geese has told WIPR that it disputes comments made by Bacardi in relation to the spirit companies’ ongoing trademark feud.
16 February 2018   Whiskey maker The Wild Geese has written a third open letter to drinks brand Bacardi, in the latest development of an ongoing dispute between the alcohol companies.