Pernod Ricard’s Absolut unit sued a liquor distributor specialising in kosher products for trademark infringement.
In the suit in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, Absolut accused Happy Hearts Wine of selling a knockoff of its Kahlua coffee liquor. According to court papers, Happy Hearts, which does business as Happy Spirits, is selling a product in a brown bottle with a label that is “substantially indistinguishable” from the Kahlua label.
The product is sold as “Kahfua,” which Absolut said is an attempt to “trade off the significant goodwill” in the Kahlua brand “with the intent of deceiving consumers into purchasing its fake Kahfua coffee liquor product.”
In its complaint, Absolut said it learned about Kahfua after Happy Hearts filed an application with the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for approval of its label. Absolut said it sent Happy Hearts cease-and-desist letters beginning in March.
Absolut said that it never received a response from Happy Hearts and that an investigator bought a bottle of Kahfua in April. Absolut said it’s harmed by the creation and sale of the product and asked the court to prohibit the use of the term “Kahfua” in any way that’s likely to harm the Kahlua marks.
The company also wants an order for the recall and destruction of all allegedly infringing products and promotional material, as well as awards of damages in excess of $2 million and additional damages aimed at punishing Happy Hearts for its actions.
Absolut is further demanding that Happy Hearts surrender to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau its certificate of approval for the “Kahfua” label.
Happy Hearts didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.
News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM