Pernod Ricard wins Imperial trademark dispute

30th November, 2015 by Melita Kiely

Pernod Ricard has won a legal battle against Indian company Rhizome Distilleries for the removal of Rhizome’s Imperial Gold whisky from the trademark registry.

Imperial-Blue-Whisky

Pernod Ricard has won a legal battle regarding its trademark of Imperial Blue and Imperial Red whiskies

The Madras High Court upheld an Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) order for the removal of Rhizome’s Imperial Gold, owned by the Adhra Pradesh-based Rhizome Distilleries.

Pernod Ricard owns registered trademarks such as Imperial Blue and Imperial Red in India, and submitted an Intellectual Property Appelate Board (IPAB) order for the removal of Rhizome’s Imperial Gold, arguing it was phonetically and structurally similar to their own trademark and would cause confusion among consumers.

The IPAB order was upheld at the Madras High Court and the IPAB ordered the removal of the mark by Rhizome Distilleries, reported the Financial Express.

The chief justice Snajay Kishan Kaul and justice T S Sivagnanam, who comprised the bench, ruled the structural and phonetic similarity was an influential factor in the case and that the use of Rhizome as a prefix to Imperial Gold was no coincidental.

“Therefore, we hold that Pernod Ricard has an exclusive right to use of combination of Imperial with the word that described colour either as a prefix or suffix,” the bench said.

“From the documents, which were placed before the IPAB, it is seen that though the Rhizome Distilleries claimed that they have marketed their products as Rhizome’s Imperial Gold, the sale invoices raised by the company to the AP Beverages Corporation Ltd describes the products as ‘Imperial Gold’ branded whisky and not ‘Rhizome’s Imperial Gold’.”

The Spirits Business has approached Pernod Ricard for comment and is awaiting a response.

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