Two gin distilleries are waging battle in court over the right to use the word “breakfast” in the name of their products. Few Spirits — the maker of “Breakfast Gin” claims that Gray Skies Distilleries is infringing on its mark by naming its competing gin product “Breakfast Rye.” According to Few, Gray Skies is attempting to hijack its hard-won branding — saying that the use of the word breakfast will serve to confuse its customer base as to which alcoholic beverage is the original Breakfast Gin.
An attorney representing Few is asking for an award that will force the gin maker Gray Skies to stop infringing on its mark. The attorney says that the Few was producing its Breakfast Gin well before Gray Skies started to produce its new product Breakfast Rye. He also stated that the mark Breakfast Gin is a recognized mark by the public which distinguishes Few as a high-quality spirit.
At this time, the attorney representing Gray Skies has yet to file a response. However, the attorney’s opinion is that the name Breakfast Rye would not cause the public to confuse the two products, and that the descriptor “breakfast” is a common term that offers a general description of the type and variety of products used to create an alcoholic product. Also, the attorney argues that other alcohol producers use the word breakfast in the Grand Rapids area to describe beverages, such as Founders Brewing Company, which uses the term, Breakfast Stout.
Regardless of what you think — and regardless of whether you feel that you should be able to drink alcohol for breakfast — this is a matter that will have to be resolved in court. If your company is having its mark infringed, you may be able to protect your intellectual property rights in court like Few Spirits is trying to do.
Source: MLive.com, “Distillery hit with lawsuit after using ‘breakfast’ in new whiskey name,” John Agar, Nov. 29, 2017