UK: BrewDog loses Elvis name dispute

Scottish brewer Brewdog lost a name dispute over Elvis Juice, an American-style IPA infused with loads of tart grapefruit peel and has to pay $1,934 in court costs. Last week, the UK Intellectual Property Office ruled that BrewDog must change the name after attorneys for Elvis Presley Enterprises objected to the brewer applying to register Elvis Juice and Brewdog Elvis Juice as trademarks. The product was launched in 2015 and instantly became a bestseller. When BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie became aware of a copyright infringement notice, they both changed by deed poll their first name to Elvis in October 2016. "There isn't just one single person in the world called Elvis, so we added two more to make a point," Watt said at that time.

Despite all efforts, the court ruled against BrewDog: “On the basis that Elvis is a relatively uncommon name, and given that Mr. Presley is the most famous of Elvises, I consider that most average consumers, on seeing the name Elvis alone, are likely to conceptualize that on the basis of Elvis Presley," hearing officer Oliver Morris said. And he continued: "We can confirm that the case was ruled in favor of the opponent, ABG EPE IP LLC, who own the ELVIS trade mark for goods which include beer. The hearing officer considered that there was a likelihood of (indirect) confusion between the names and that the average consumer will assume that the goods sold under the two applied for marks, came from the same (or related) undertaking as those sold under the trade mark ELVIS for beer."

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