Diageo settles Explorers’ Club trademark lawsuit

22nd September, 2014 by Amy Hopkins

Diageo will continue to sell its Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Scotch whisky range after settling a trademark dispute with the club of the same name.

Johnnie Walker Royal Route

Diageo will be able to continue to sell its Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club collection after settling a trademark dispute

In August this year, the British drinks group lost a trademark battle against the New York-based not-for-profit group The Explorers Club over its travel retail exclusive Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club collection.

The group, which has counted Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin among its members, launched legal action against Diageo in March over the “confusingly similar” name of its collection.

Manhattan judge Justice Charles Ramos said: “It is clear that Diageo’s adoption of the name of the Explorers’ Club was for the purpose of leading the public to believe that it was connected or affiliated with the club.”

He added that Diageo had “indisputably profited enormously from the purported unlawful and disputed use of the club’s name, to the tune of approximately $50 million in sales.”

Diageo and The Explorers Club have now announced a global sponsorship and licensing agreement to settle all outstanding litigation between the two companies.

“This collaboration with The Explorers Club brings the history and importance of exploration to life and allows us to share our joint passion for exploration and discovery,” said Guy Escolme, global brand director for Johnnie Walker

“The Explorers Club is leading the way in world exploration, and we are privileged to be able to join them in this extraordinary effort.”

Under the agreement, Johnnie Walker has become a corporate sponsor of The Explorers Club, while both groups will also work together to “promote exploration and discovery, the core of The Explorers Club’s mission”.

Alan Nichols, president of The Explorers Club, said: “With this new and exciting relationship, The Explorers Club will be able to enhance its grant programs, further develop its highly successful lecture series and educational events, and expand its role as the World Center for Exploration.”

Financial terms of the agreement have not been released.

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

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