UK brewery BrewDog has won an appeal over the registration of the trademark 'BrewDog Elvis Juice' for one of its beers. In 2016 the estate of the late great Elvis Presley opposed the registration on infringement grounds, and the applications were rejected by the UK Intellectual Property Office. They have now been allowed on appeal.
The appeal has determined that while the word Elvis may bring to mind the rockstar, it also brings to mind Elvis Costello. The appointed person went on to say that the mark as a whole also brings to mind brewing, liquids and dogs.
During the dispute the owners took a similar approach to that used by cosmetics giant Lush in its litigation against Amazon UK: winding up the other side. In that case, Lush renamed a range of products after the Amazon UK CEO. In this case, the BrewDog owners took the rather more drastic step of legally changing their own names to 'Elvis'.
While they didn't seek to rely on the "own name" defence in the proceedings, it certainly generated plenty of interest (and probably a few customers). To celebrate the success on appeal, the owners offered free beer to suitable dressed Elvis impersonators at a selection of their bars.
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