BrewDog Beats Back Trademark Action From The Elvis Presley Estate

from the the-juice-is-loose dept

In the middle of summer last year, we discussed a somewhat strange trademark fight between BrewDog, a Scottish Brewery that has been featured in our pages for less than stellar reasons, and the Elvis Presley Estate. At issue was BrewDog's attempt to trademark the name of one of its beers, a grapefruit IPA called "Elvis Juice." With no other explanation beyond essentially claiming that any use of Elvis everywhere will only be associated in the public's mind as being affiliated by the 1950s rock legend, the Estate opposed the trademark application. Initially, the UK Intellectual Property Office sided with the Estate, despite the owners of BrewDog both pointing out that they were simply using a common first name and that they were actually taking the legal course of changing their first names to Elvis to prove their point. Not to mention that the trade dress for the beer has absolutely nothing to do with Elvis Presley. We wondered, and hoped, at the time if BrewDog would appeal the decision.

Well, it did, and it has won, which means Elvis Juice is free to exist and the order that BrewDog pay the Elvis Estate costs for its opposition be vacated.

Now, after a three-year battle the firm has overturned a ruling banning them from using the name and and order to pay Presley's estate £1,500 in costs has been scrapped. The ruling means BrewDog will no longer have to change the name or apply to the Elvis estate for official permission to use it.

It's the right end-state for all of this, but you have to wonder why it took an appeal process to get here. Again, you can see the trade dress for the beer in our original post and you will see that there is absolutely nothing in the way of a call-back to Elvis Presley. In other words, the opposition from the Estate rested solely on the claim that virtually any use of a common first name would be associated with the long-dead Elvis Presley. Arguably, Presley may not even by the first singer to leap to mind in the European market, where Elvis Costello is still, you know, alive. This whole thing smacked of pure audacity on the part of the Estate.

But let's remember that BrewDog has had to deal with this mess for the better part of a year. To those that would claim that trademark bullying isn't all that big a problem, tell that to the two Elvises (Elvisi?) that own BrewDog.


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