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Pepsi beats small Welsh brewer in trademark tussle

Drinks giant Pepsico has succeeded in banning a small Welsh brewer from using the name “Bare Naked Beer” as it is apparently too close to the name of a soft drink Pepsi produces.

A court ruled that Simon Doherty of the Artisan Brewery in Pontcanna could no longer use the banner for his beers as it was too similar to Pepsi’s Naked Juice range of fruit drinks.

The case first came to court two years ago when Doherty applied for the name but Pepsi blocked the move, arguing that beer and soft drinks fall under the same category of registration.

Doherty runs one of the smallest breweries in the country and could not afford a trademark lawyer so was forced to represent himself.

Pepsi meanwhile, owns other brands such as Tropicana, 7Up and Doritos and turns over an estimated US$1 billion a year. Its Naked Juice range was acquired in 2007 and is sold in 20 countries including the UK.

Doherty told Walesonline: “Thankfully the court nullified all costs because they didn’t find in favour of Pepsi in terms of the t-shirts we also produce with the Bare Naked Beer logo.

“We can’t use the brand mark on our beer anymore but there was no case for using the brand on clothing so at least we won that battle.

“I have still been faced with the cost of representing myself in court, which was not cheap, but if PepsiCo had won outright I would have been facing astronomical costs.”

He described the case as that of “David versus Goliath”. He has the right of appeal but said, “there really seems little point”.

He now has a few months to come up with a different name for the range.

Pepsi told the site that, “due to the original incident happening two years ago, PepsiCo won’t be commenting on such legal matters.”

Doherty’s beers can be bought from his website and from certain stockists in Wales.

He produces several beers, mainly German in style with a Welsh twist, including an altbier, wheat beer, chocolate wheat bock, helles, chocolate wheat and kölsch.

The brewery is holding a “Bar Open” event tomorrow, 3 November, at its site in 183A Kings Road, Cardiff, CF11 9DF, where it will be serving and selling its beers, as well as wine and food.

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