Diageo sues ‘copycat’ Admiral Nelson’s rum
1st April, 2014 by Lauren Eads
Diageo has launched legal action against Heaven Hill’s Admiral Nelson’s rum over claims its branding infringes on its own Captain Morgan rum trademark.
A lawsuit was filed by the drinks giant at the Federal Court of Canada on Wednesday, 26 March, against US-based Heaven Hill Distilleries, which owns Elijah Craig and Evan Williams Bourbons.
The lawsuit claims the Admiral Nelson’s brand “is clearly intended to mimic the Captain Morgan brand,” using a similar historical character in an attempt to “trade upon the brand’s goodwill and create consumer confusion” and serving to “dilute” the Captain Morgan rum trademark.
In a statement, Iain Chalmers, vice president of marketing for Diageo Canada, said: “Diageo appreciates healthy competition, as continued innovation maintains consumer excitement and benefits the entire industry.”
“However, we are strongly opposed to competitors copycatting the label design and character trademark of established brands like Captain Morgan. We will fight these infringements wherever we can.”
Captain Morgan is the largest spiced rum producer in the world with global volumes of more than 19.8 million cases, and is also the leading spiced rum in Canada.
Heaven Hill acquired the Admiral Nelson’s brand from Luxco Inc. in 2011 and has since built a following in the US with volumes of more than 800,000 cases.
Heaven Hill declined to comment.