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Johnnie Walker sued by real-life Explorers Club

Diageo is facing legal action by a real-life explorers’ club over the title of its Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club whisky collection.

Johnnie Walker Royal Route
Diageo is being sued by the New York-based Explorers’ Club over a collection of Johnnie Walker blended whisky

The New York-based Explorers Club – which claims to have “promoted the scientific exploration of land, sea, air and space” since its inception in 1904 – is suing Diageo over “confusingly similar” name of its Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club range.

According to the New York Post, The Explorers Club, a not-for-profit organisation which claims to own the trademark to its name, filed a civil lawsuit to a Manhattan court on Friday 21 March.

The publication reports that a cease and desist letter was sent to UK drinks giant Diageo last spring, but negotiations have since broken down.

“Diageo’s use of the Explorers Club name is likely to deceive, and in fact already has deceived, the public into believing that Diageo’s products are affiliated with The Explorers Club,” reads the lawsuit.

Reports claim that the Explorers Club wants Diageo to stop using the name altogether, or pay a license fee.

The Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club series of exclusive blended whiskies launched in December 2012 and marked Diageo’s biggest ever investment in travel retail.

The first collection to launch was the Trade Route series, which included The Spice Road, The Gold Route and The Royal Route whiskies.

This month, a new concept store launched in London Heathrow Airport to promote the collection.

UK representatives claim to have “just learned of the actions that were filed” and declined to comment further.

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