Few Spirits Distillery has filed a lawsuit against Gray Skies Distillery, located in Missouri, after Gray Skies released a new breakfast rye whiskey.
Few Spirits started producing a ‘Breakfast Gin,’ flavoured with Earl Grey tea, in 2011 and trademarked the name in January 2016. Now they have accused Gray Skies of trademark infringement, unfair competition and violation of Michigan consumer protection laws for its use of the name “Breakfast Rye”.
If you must read on here’s what website The Drinks Business.com are reporting
In the complaint, which was filed on 21 November, Few Spirits said its legal team contacted Gray Skies in October, having been made aware of the new product release.
Gray Skies’ attorneys then sent a letter to Few Spirits at the beginning of November stating that it was “in the process of launching distribution” for its Breakfast Rye and that Few Spirits “should consider the matter closed”.
Few Spirits argues that the name of Gray Skies’ new whiskey would imply that it is “somehow authorised by, sponsored by or affiliated with [Few Spirits] and its well-known Breakfast Gin mark”.
The lawsuit also stated that Gray Skies had “deliberately and wilfully used the Breakfast Rye mark to trade upon Few’s widespread and hard-earned goodwill in its Breakfast Gin distilled spirits, as well as to confuse consumers as to the origin and sponsorship of (Gray Skies’) distilled spirits”.
Few Spirits is seeking an injunction to prevent the sale Gray Skies’ whiskey under the name “Breakfast Rye”, together with damages if the spirit is ever served at a bar or sold in shops.
Gray Skies’ attorney, Thomas Williams, who has not yet filed a response to the accusation, told local media that it is unlikely that consumers would confuse the two products.
Speaking to MiBiz, he said: “The whole concept of trademark law is to protect consumers from confusion so that they don’t buy one product thinking it’s from one source and it’s actually from somewhere else. When we look at this case, we don’t see that there’s a likelihood of confusion. When you look at the bottles, they’re totally different. When you look at the labels, they’re totally different”.