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BrewDog loses legal battle over Tiger gin brand

Craft brewing giant BrewDog has lost a legal battle with The Shropshire Gin Company after the beer-maker attempted to trademark the brand name ‘Tiger Strike’ for drinks including gin and vodka. 

BrewDog allegations - a BrewDog pub

According to The TimesThe Shropshire Gin Company lodged a formal objection to the trademark request through its owner Jeffrey Lawrence, who said that the name was too similar to his own business’ Tiger Gin.

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) ruled in favour of Mr Lawrence, and thus the trademark has not been registered.

Mr Lawrence, 54, said of the ruling:

“I appreciate that the UKIPO decision was in my favour. The trademark for Tiger Gin was hard won and is strongly defended.”

He had previously won a trademark dispute with Heineken – the producers of Tiger beer – when Tiger Gin was registered as a trademark.

In a written ruling on BrewDog’s trademark request, the trademark hearing officer of the intellectual property office said:

“I have found all of the applicant’s goods to be identical with the opponent’s goods. I have found the marks to be visually, aurally and conceptually similar to a medium degree.

“The following factors lead me to conclude that there will be indirect confusion between the marks: the fact that the goods are identical; the goods will be purchased with no more than a medium level of attention; the earlier mark is inherently distinctive to at least a medium degree.

“Consequently, I find that a significant proportion of average consumers will note the differences between the respective marks but conclude that the marks relate to economically linked undertakings, eg ‘Tiger Strike’ might be perceived as a range or line of drinks under an overarching brand ‘Tiger’.

“The opposition has succeeded and the application is refused.”

BrewDog was ordered to pay Mr Lawrence £1,000 towards his legal costs.

The craft beer company has endured a tumultuous few months, after allegations of a “toxic” workplace culture surfaced from a group of former employees.

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