Beverage World Trademark Disputes

‘Ice’ Scrap

PepsiCo Inc. is getting a cold reception for its new Mountain Dew Ice brand.

The company rolled out Ice in January, describing it as “a crisp, clear, carbonated soft drink made with a splash of real juice that will keep Dew Nation charged and refreshed.” Six months before that, it had applied to register the name as a trademark.

That apparently didn’t sit well with Talking Rain Beverage Co., a Washington state company that sells a “Sparkling Ice” brand of flavored sparkling waters. The company lodged an opposition this week, saying the world was too small for two “Ice” beverages.

“Applicant’s proposed ‘Mtn Dew Ice’ mark subsumes opposer’s ‘Ice’ mark,” Talking Rain wrote. “Applicant’s proposed ‘Mtn Dew Ice’ mark and opposer’s ‘Sparkling Ice’ mark both contain the term ‘Ice.'”

Talking Rain is represented by Perkins Coie LLP. Pepsi is represented by its own attorneys. The case number is 91241364.


Stoli Spat

Spirits International BV, the company behind Stolichnaya vodka, kicked off another trademark fight this week.

The liquor company filed an opposition against Classic Liquor Importers Ltd. over that company’s application for “Royal Elite Vodka,” citing its own ultra-premium “Stolichnaya Elit” brand of vodka.

“The words ‘Elit’ and ‘Elite’ are identical in sound and commercial impression (though not in meaning, as “Elit” has no meaning in a living language), and are nearly identical in appearance,” the company wrote in its notice of opposition. “The addition of the highly suggestive, if not descriptive, laudatory term ‘Royal’ and the generic term ‘vodka’ does not sufficiently distinguish applicants mark from opposer’s Elit marks.”

A trademark dispute is hardly new territory for Spirits International.

The company, a privatized “successor” to the old Soviet firm that sold Stoli during the Cold War, has already been fighting for more than a decade against a Russian state-owned entity over the “Stolichnaya” name itself. Federal Treasury Enterprise Sojuzplodoimport claims Spirits International never actually took over control of the name.

Following a ruling in January by the Second Circuit that the foreign rival had standing to sue in U.S. court, Spirits International indicated it will appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the new case at the TTAB, Spirits International is represented by Covington & Burling LLP. Classic Liquor Importers is represented by Ostrolenk Faber LLP. The opposition number is 91228112.