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Absolut in lawsuit over Kahfua ‘counterfeiter’

Pernod Ricard has has accused a New York company of counterfeit trademarking a product almost identical to its Kahlua rum liqueur brand, called Kahfua.

Pernod Ricard has accused Kahfua of trademark counterfeiting in a new lawsuit

The Absolut Company – a subsidiary of French drinks group Pernod – discovered the existence of a product called Kahfua, which features very similar labels to its Kahlua brand, when its producer filed a Certificate of Label Approval.

According to Law360, the product is allegedly created by Brooklyn-based Happy Hearts LLC.

Absolut argues that Happy Hearts has ignored its multiple cease and desist letter and has therefore filed an official complaint with the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, asking for an immediate preliminary injunction.

The lawsuit claims Kahfua seeks to capitalise on the fame and equity of Kahlua

The lawsuit accuses the Kahfua brand of dilution, infringement and unfair competition, as well as trademark counterfeiting.

“There can be no credible argument that defendant’s copying was not intended to capitalise on the fame and equity of [the] Kahlua brand, and to trick consumers into purchasing defendant’s inferior competing product,” the company said in its injunction request.

In October last year, Absolut Vodka settled its trademark dispute with fellow Swedish brand Purity Vodka after two years of litigation.

Purity Vodka launched legal action against its larger rival Absolut in 2012 claiming the “Absolut Purity” campaign infringes its registered trademark.

Neither Pernod Ricard nor Happy Hearts could be immediately reached for comment.

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