Aberdeen FC loses whisky trademark in row with Don Fino Sherry

A Scottish football club has lost a legal battle with Spanish Sherry producer Don Fino over the name of its blended whisky label.

Aberdeen Football Club Plc  applied to register two trademarks, The Dons Dram and Dons Dram, in September 2017 after partnering with a local distillery to create the blended whisky.

However, drinks producer Sandeman, which owns the Sherry label Don Fino, objected to the move, arguing that it infringed on its own trademark which has been registered in various forms for close to a century. The sherry-maker applied for a trademark of a caped figure with the strapline “The Don” underneath in 1935, and in 1960 applied to register a trademark for Don Fino.

Sandeman, according to the UK Intellectual Property Office, said the similarity between the trademarks “is such that the relevant public will believe that they are used by the same undertaking or think that there is an economic connection between the users of
the trade marks.”

It said that the club could benefit from this confusion, and demanded the application was stalled.

Aberdeen FC argued that it had formed in 1903, more than 30 years before the first Don Fino application, and had been affectionately known as “The Dons” for over a century.

the IPO ruled in Sandeman’s favour, concluding that most of the UK wouldn’t be aware of Aberdeen FC’s nickname.

The club was ordered to pay £1,500 in legal fees, and will now have to either change the name of its spirit, or request permission from Sandeman to continue using the brand name.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

We encourage debate in the comments section and always welcome feedback, but if you spot something you don't think is right, we ask that you leave an accurate email address so we can get back to you if we need to.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Business Development Manager

Bashall Spirits
Lancashire, UK

Territory Manager - Edinburgh

Cadrona Distillery
Edinburgh, UK

Territory Manager - London​

Cadrona Distillery
London, UK

Business Development Manager

Lucozade Ribena Suntory

Customer Marketing Manager

London NW1, UK

Export Assistant Co-ordinator - Maternity Cover

Speciality Drinks
Whitby Avenue, London NW10 7SF, UK

Customer Services Administrator - On Trade

Speciality Drinks
Whitby Avenue, London NW10 7SF, UK

Events Assistant

67 Pall Mall
London, UK

Fruit Focus 2019

East Malling,United Kingdom
17th Jul 2019

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show

San Francisco,USA
23rd Jul 2019

The Wine Show Chelsea 2019

London,United Kingdom
18th Oct 2019
Click to view more

The Global Riesling Masters 2018

View Results

Global Chardonnay Masters 2018

View Results

Click to view more