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Bacardi loses EU appeal over bar app Freepour

European officials have rejected a bid by Bacardi to register ‘Freepour’ as the name of an app for bartenders.

Bacardi rum range
Bacardi’s portfolio includes its eponymous rum range

Bacardi applied for the international registration of ‘Freepour’ on 27 November 2020, to be used for online business networking services, telecommunications services, and providing news and commentary about activities relating to bartending, to name a few points.

Bacardi’s spirits portfolio includes Bombay Sapphire gin, its eponymous rum brand and Grey Goose vodka.

Nearly a year later on 21 October 2021, Free – a French telecommunications company – filed an opposition against the international registration for parts of the aforementioned services.

The French firm argued that it had a ‘significant reputation in France’ for telecoms services.

Consumers were likely to ‘perceive the contested trademark as an indication that the above-contested services are offered under the reputed earlier trademark ‘Free’”, the appellate board concluded.

On 5 May 2023, Bacardi filed an appeal against the contested decision, arguing that while the names share the first element of ‘Freepour’ – ‘free’ – they differ in the second component, ‘pour’. Bacardi said the addition of ‘pour’ added visual, aural and conceptual differences between the names and signs.

The judgement ruled there was a ‘high probability’ Bacardi’s sign would be taking unfair advantage of its established reputation. The judgement said there was a ‘clear proximity between the services’ that both signs were registered for.

The Spirits Business has reached out to Bacardi for a comment and is waiting for a response.

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