Category Archives: Campaign News

The Wild Geese delivers spirited response to Bacardi

The Wild Geese has told WIPR that it disputes comments made by Bacardi in relation to the spirit companies’ ongoing trademark feud.

Last week WIPR reported that the dispute between The Wild Geese and Bacardi goes back to 2014, with the latest developments centring on three open letters the whiskey brand has addressed to Bacardi.

The long-running battle between the spirit companies revolves around The Wild Geese’s logo ‘Untamed’ (US trademark number 87,191,609), registered in international classes 32 and 33, for beverages including beer and spirits. The Untamed brand tells the story of the ‘wild geese’, the name given to the Irish diaspora.

In 2013 Bacardi launched its ‘Bacardi Untameable’ marketing campaign, using it to tell the story of the allegedly “untameable” Bacardi family. It filed to register ‘Bacardi Untameable’ as a trademark in international class 33 for alcoholic beverages.

The Wild Geese filed an opposition with the US Patent and Trademark Office, claiming the campaign misappropriated its ‘Untamed’ mark.

The opposition has been suspended in light of The Wild Geese’s lawsuit against Bacardi for trademark infringement relating to the same ‘Untamed’ mark. The complaint was filed in August 2016 in the US District Court for the Central District of California.

During February 2018 the whiskey company published three open letters to Bacardi, each requesting a response because The Wild Geese has “asked nicely but you didn’t answer”.

Speaking to WIPR a spokesperson for Bacardi said it has constantly prevailed against The Wild Geese’s legal challenges to its ‘Untameable’ trademark. They said the open letters are “clearly issued to attempt to adversely influence the legal process” and “Bacardi will continue to vigorously protect its rights”.

Subsequently a representative for The Wild Geese spoke to WIPR and claimed to be “intrigued” by Bacardi’s comment.

In response to Bacardi’s assertion that it prevailed against legal challenges, The Wild Geese said “Bacardi’s originally successful attempt to move the jurisdiction from California to Miami, their power base, was immediately reversed when the court was made aware of the conflicting statements” made by the spirits company “in order to achieve their aim”.

The spokesperson explained that The Wild Geese is not seeking to adversely influence public opinion but is “merely stating the facts”, which must “make for uncomfortable reading for Bacardi”. They added that the public should decide whether Bacardi’s behaviour in relation to trademarks owned by others is acceptable.

The whiskey company went on to say that “Bacardi demands adherence from others” in respect of US trademark law, yet “seems positively outraged at the idea that the law applies to them also”.

When asked by WIPR to clarify the comments disputed by The Wild Geese, Bacardi declined to comment any further.

https://www.worldipreview.com/news/the-wild-geese-delivers-spirited-response-to-bacardi-15517

Open Letter #3 from Lodestar Wild Geese to Bacardi About (In)Consistency

Open Letter #3 from Lodestar Wild Geese to Bacardi About (In)Consistency

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lodestar Anstalt today issued the following statement:

We asked nicely but you didn’t answer, so we were forced to ask again in court. We’ve distilled some key points from those legal documents and the public record.

Dear Bacardi,

Let’s be honest. Inconsistency was never good, but people got away with it because different audiences had no way of comparing notes. Not so anymore, when there’s an instant and everlasting record on the Internet.

That’s why we sued you for trademark infringement after you apparently took our UNTAMED® trademark and ad campaign, then used it for your own rum products without permission.

Lodestar’s UNTAMED® advertising campaign tells the story of The Wild Geese, a reference to the Irish Diaspora who were forced to leave Ireland yet remained defiant in the face of exile. In your UNTAMEABLE version, you claim that the Bacardi family was exiled, outlawed, and imprisoned.  Is that your real heritage, or did you “borrow” that from us, too?

Bacardi’s own websites tell seemingly contradictory stories about its history. Is no one fact-checking, or at least cross-checking?

Consider these snippets:

In one version, when Bacardi was kicked out of Cuba and its assets were seized after the Cuban Revolution, “The Bacardis lost their business and their home, but … not their spirit. They simply started over somewhere else.” The picture that paints suggests the Bacardi family was near-destitute. That version appears on bacardilimited.com and is the story told in the Bacardi Unatmeable advertising campaign.

Hop over to bacardi.com and there’s a different twist on the story — that Bacardi was aware troubles were brewing for its business, so it shifted assets out of Cuba beforehand. “The company exhibited keen foresight,” the website crows, “having already moved its trademarks and yeast strain out of Cuba for safekeeping. It also had an established multi-national presence and continued operations from several other countries.” In addition, according to published reports, Bacardi received approximately $350 million in subsidies from U.S. taxpayers.

Feeling confused? Double-vision making you queasy, as if you’ve had a few too many swigs of rum?

Then there’s the matter of the value of Bacardi’s Cuban assets and compensation. That’s always been a bit fuzzy.

How much had Bacardi claimed those assets were worth prior to the revolution — which was the basis for any taxes it paid to Cuba? By comparison, how much did Bacardi claim those same assets were worth after they’d been seized and it was seeking compensation?

These are just some of the questions Bacardi, for the first time, will have to answer in United States federal court.

We’re awaiting your answers.

Feeling Plundered,
Lodestar Anstalt, Maker of Untamed® Revolutionary Rum and The Wild Geese Soldiers and Heroes® Irish Whiskey and other fine liquors

Contact:
Andre J. Levy, Chairman
Lodestar Anstalt
bacardiexposed@protonmail.com
+41 794871795

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at
http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/9c142b4c-6d0f-4c0c-a258-4d49752780b7

http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/ba46dc7e-0356-4075-a7ae-9b7b74e38c5f

An Open Letter from Lodestar Wild Geese to Bacardi (globenewswire.com)

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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 05, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lodestar Anstalt today issued the following statement:

We asked nicely but you didn’t answer, so we were forced to ask again in court. We’ve distilled some key points from those legal documents and the public record.

Dear Bacardi,

We’ve heard Bacardi called a “Trademark Pirate of the Caribbean.” We didn’t want to believe it. But now that our trademark has been pillaged, we wonder.

It seems a trend may exist. We wonder what bounds it has — if any.

Perhaps most (in)famously, Bacardi co-opted the iconic photo of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, with the Sea of Tranquility landing site, lunar horizon, and void of space reflected in the visor of his spacesuit.

Bacardi decided to improve the “visor shot” in an ad campaign depicting a bottle of rum pouring its contents onto an image of Aldrin with the lower half of his body adorned in swim trunks and fins. Aldrin, a recovering alcoholic, wasn’t amused. After Bacardi co-opted the achievements of this extraordinary man of courage for its own commercial benefit, Aldrin felt compelled to sue to stop misappropriation of his image and identity. Bacardi ultimately settled and apologized, after public backlash.

Then there’s Bacardi’s two-decade, back-and-forth battle with Pernod Ricard and its Cuban partner over ownership of the Havana Club rum trademark. Even now, you are still arguing over who makes the “real” Cuban rum and accusing Pernod of profiting from a “stolen” trademark.

Congress members are even currently involved in helping Bacardi seek to overturn a ruling that was in favor of the other side. A United States Representative from Florida (where Bacardi’s U.S. operations are based) said the U.S. needs to “honor our nation’s intellectual property laws and policies.”

One wonders, Does Bacardi believe that honoring U.S. intellectual property laws is the right thing to do when Bacardi is the one being accused of expropriating someone else’s trademark?

Which brings us to us.

A few years back, Bacardi was apparently looking to re-brand itself and challenge consumer perceptions that Bacardi was
“for girls and douche bags,” ( Click here to see the document Bacardi’s agency tried to hide since our expose of what the agency reports the consumer really thinks about Bacardi ) according to Bacardi’s brand activation agency. Bacardi apparently liked our trademark Untamed® based on the true story of The Wild Geese — the name given to the Irish diaspora forced to flee Ireland in 1691 and their defiance in the face of exile with acts of real sacrifice and heroism. So Bacardi created the Bacardi Untameable advertising campaign — a reference to its purported hardship after fleeing Cuba.

Click here to see the document Bacardi’s agency tried to hide since our expose of what the agency reports the consumer really thinks about Bacardi

 

 

Like Buzz Aldrin, we weren’t amused. We sued you, claiming trademark infringement and unfair competition. That lawsuit is making its way through federal court.

These trademark cases are notable.

What about lesser-known ones that drift by barely detected, such as when Bacardi (maker of Grey Goose vodka) in 2016 shot down an effort by a competitor to market Goose Green, a vodka named for a battle in the Falklands War? A settlement was reached, and Goose Green never got off the ground. How many others have there been?

Finally, Bacardi must answer these questions and more in U.S. court. Until now, you’ve been able to comfortably shield yourself behind a Bermuda facade. No longer. For the first time, a federal judge has ruled that parent company Bacardi Limited must answer under U.S. legal jurisdiction.

Nothing to hide, is there? Or is shining any light too bright and undesirable?

We’re anxiously awaiting your answers.

Feeling Plundered,
Lodestar Anstalt, Maker of Untamed® Revolutionary Rum and The Wild Geese Soldiers and Heroes® Irish Whiskey and other fine liquors

Contact:
Andre J. Levy, Chairman
Lodestar Anstalt
bacardiexposed@protonmail.com
+41 794871795

https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/02/05/1332688/0/en/An-Open-Letter-from-Lodestar-Wild-Geese-to-Bacardi.html

Bacardi Has Small Hiccup on FEC Form

Bacardi Has Small Hiccup on FEC Form
By The Washington Post

The Bacardi USA Political Action Committee left blank two sections of an amended statement of organization, , according to the Washington Post.

The careless act prompted the Federal Election Commission to send the group a reminder note Friday that it needed to include addresses for its treasurer and affiliated banks.

In the first quarter of 2014, Bacardi USA made just one donation – $1,000 to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who took over as chairman of the powerful Finance Committee this year. The PAC, in 2013, gave that amount to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and to a victory fund for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who is also the Democratic National Committee chairwoman.

Bacardi’s political arm gave $2,500 to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), once the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the first Cuban American elected to Congress. Bacardi was founded in Cuba, but left over family opposition to Fidel Castro.

Read the full story on WashingtonPost.com.

Tiny Whiskey Company Wild Geese Goes To Battle With Liquor Giant Bacardi Over Trademark Law

Tiny Whiskey Company Wild Geese Goes To Battle With Liquor Giant Bacardi Over Trademark Law
By Buzzfeed Business

Chances are only the most fervent of whiskey drinkers has heard of The Wild Geese Company. At least that appears to be the bet spirits Goliath Barcardi was making when it recently launched a new “untameable” advertising campaign that the much smaller boutique distillery claims infringes on its trademark rights, Buzzfeed reported.

Wild Geese holds the trademark to the “untamed” slogan, and, in a recently filed complaint with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, claimed Barcardi’s new campaign too closely resembles its own and violates its intellectual property. Though trademark fights are common in the spirits, beverage, and other industries, Wild Geese is taking its dispute with Bacardi to another level. Andre Levy, the chairman of parent company, Avalon Group, has been meeting with congressional staffers and has hired a lobbying firm to push for a change to the laws dictating U.S. intellectual property litigation. Namely, Levy is sick of “the little guys” having to back down in lawsuits with major brand competitors that have infinitely more resources to throw at a lawsuit and wants to level the playing field.

A representative for Bacardi declined comment for this story.

“It’s a dangerous precedent Bacardi is trying to set by using a name and trying to have people associate it with their product,” Levy said. “The problem that presents to entrepreneurs is it really creates a wild West scenario with intellectual property. Because they’re better known, they’re saying there will be no confusion between the two trademarks.”

See the full story on Buzzfeed.com.

Irish Whiskey Brand Takes on Bacardi Over Trademark

Irish Whiskey Brand Takes on Bacardi Over Trademark
by Bloomberg Businessweek

Andre Levy, a British liquor marketer grappling with some of the world’s largest spirits conglomerates, hopes for a fairer shake in the court of public opinion, according to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek.

In 2000, Levy launched a whiskey brand called Wild Geese. To Levy and his Irish wife Mairade, who live in Switzerland, the brand clearly evoked the story of 17th century Irish soldiers, known as the Wild Geese, who fled to France at the end of a war with the English.

Last year, Bacardi sought to register the phrase “Bacardi Untameable” with the USPTO. Levy filed an objection and hopes to persuade the trademark office that Bacardi’s application, if approved, would violate his existing mark.

He worries that Bacardi will continue using its phrase, regardless of what the trademark office rules. “We would have to take Bacardi to court,”  Levy told Bloomberg Businessweek. “That would take years and cost substantial amounts of money.”

For the full story visit, http://www.businessweek.com

Wild Geese launches campaign against Bacardi

Wild Geese launches campaign against Bacardi
By SpiritsBusiness.com

Brand owner Avalon Group claims Bacardi’s new global marketing campaign, which was launched in November last year, is a “cut and paste” of the Untamed trademark owned by The Wild Geese, which has been registered in over 100 markets worldwide since 2011,  the SpiritsBusiness.com reported.

The British Virgin Islands-based group is combating Bacardi’s registration of the Untameable trademark in several markets, and has successfully halted its registration with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which according to Avalon, had neglected to consider The Wild Geese trademark.

Andre Levy, chairman of Avalon distributor Protégé International, told The Spirits Business: “Bacardi are using our trademark to sell their products. It’s not just the trademark, but the look and feel of what we’ve done with Wild Geese is almost a cut and paste job.”

Now Avalon has launched the BacardiControversial.com website, Facebook page and Twitter hashtag in a bid to highlight what it claims are “bullying tactics” used by large corporations to “steal” smaller companies’ ideas.

“We want to make a difference and highlight what is happening all the time and come up with a creative solution that will actually stop this, and that’s what we’re trying to do with the Bacardi Controversial campaign,” Levy said.

“The copying of somebody’s design is literally stealing the thousands of hours you’ve put into something. It’s devaluing the sacrifices you’ve made, the intellectual investment and emotional investment.”

For the full story visit SpiritsBusiness.com.

Avalon Group Launches Campaign Against Bacardi over ‘Untamed’ Trademark

The following story was posted by www.just-drinks.com :

GLOBAL: Avalon Group Launches Campaign Against Bacardi over ‘Untamed’ Trademark

Avalon Group, the makers of Wild Geese Irish whiskey, has launched an online campaign over claims that Bacardi‘s latest global advertising campaign is too similar to the marketing for its own brands.

Bacardi launched its campaign ‘Bacardi Untameable’ for its namesake rum brand in November last year. However, British Virgin Islands-based Avalon, claims that it has had the trademark ‘Untamed’ registered around the world since 2011.

Avalon says it has used the term “Untamed” to market its full portfolio – including Untamed Revolutionary Rum, Untamed Vodka and The Exiles Gin – since 2009.

Avalon has launched a website – Bacardi-Controversial – flagging up its concerns, including a Facebook page and Twitter hashtag. The company has also taken the issue up with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Speaking to just-drinks today (14 April), Andre Levy, chairman of Protege International, which handles the marketing of Avalon’s brands, said: “They (Bacardi) knew about us and set out to emulate what we’ve done.

“We decided to take a different approach to show this is what Bacardi are doing.”

Levy said his company has challenged Bacardi’s trademark applications “where we’ve found them”. He added: “We will ultimately end up in litigation.”

When contacted by just-drinks today, a Bacardi spokesperson declined to comment.

Read the story on just-drinks.com.

 

Bacardi Advertising Stirs Controversy

BACARDI ADVERTISING STIRS CONTROVERSY

“Bacardi Untameable” Remarkably Similar to Longstanding Irish Whiskey Campaign

Washington, DC – April 10 – Controversy surrounds Bacardi Ltd.’s “Bacardi Untameable” (sic) advertising campaign very recently launched in the U.S. and world-wide in support of its rum, which is facing declining U.S. sales.

The Wild Geese Company, owned by Andre Levy and his wife Mairade Levy (nee Kelly) claims that the campaign is remarkably similar to its campaigns that tell the story of the Wild Geese – that extraordinary band of Irish men and women who left Ireland in 1691 in exile and whose descendants now number over 80 million world-wide, 40 million of whom live in the US many holding prominent positions.

The Wild Geese Company has been using Untamed in telling the story of the Untamed Spirit of the Irish Diaspora since 2009 and registered it in the US and world-wide in 2011.

“We’ve been telling the story of the untamed Wild Geese since 2000.  The story of the Irish Diaspora and the Wild Geese who left Ireland in 1691 is central to the story of the Irish around the world and has as its larger theme the resilience of the Irish spirit in the face of extreme duress” said Andre Levy, Chairman of The Wild Geese Company.  “Now, along comes Bacardi to appropriate the Irish story of the Wild Geese and attempt to make it about them and their family.”

“Not only is Bacardi co-opting the uniquely Irish story of the Wild Geese, but they’ve also adopted our language.  Wild Geese has used “Untamed” on its packaging, in our print and video advertising and displays since 2009,” Andre Levy continued.  “Bacardi cannot take it as their own simply because they like it.”

In 2011, “Untamed” became a registered trademark in the U.S. and around the world. Bacardi now seeks to register “Bacardi Untameable” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).  The Wild Geese Company is challenging Bacardi’s application.

The Wild Geese Company today announced the launch of an online campaign at www.bacardi-controversial.com.  Visitors to the online campaign headquarters can compare the two campaigns and see examples of other instances of questionable Bacardi conduct.

In addition, website visitors will be encouraged to write their Senators and Representatives calling on Congress to protect entrepreneurs from Big Companies like Bacardi.  There is also a campaign Facebook page (www.facebook.com/bacardi.controversial) and a twitter feed (@BacardiControv).

“Like the Wild Geese before us, we will not let this stand,” said Andre Levy. “Bacardi has picked a fight with the wrong people. We are and will remain Untamed… no matter who is challenging us. That’s just who we are.”

The Wild Geese Company’s products include The Wild Geese Soldiers and Heroes multi award-winning Irish whiskey and recently a multi–award winning Rum, as well as Untamed Revolutionary Rum, Untamed Vodka and The Exiles Gin amongst others.

Diageo Sues For ‘Copy Cat’ Branding

Diageo Sues For ‘Copy Cat’ Branding

Diageo recently filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court of Canada against Heaven Hill Distilleries for copying their Captain Morgan brand.

The lawsuit claims that  Heaven Hill Distilleries’ Admiral Nelson’s rum “infringes” on and “dilutes” the Captain Morgan rum trademark, according to thespiritsbusiness.com.

In a statement, Diageo North America accuses Heaven Hill of “blatantly confusing trade dress”,

The lawsuit comes just days after Diageo was sued by the Explorers Club for allegedly stealing its trademark and using it for its Explorers’ Club whisky range.

For more information, read the full article, here.

Jack Daniels Edges Smaller Competitors With New Liquor Law

Jack Daniels Edges Smaller Competitors With New Liquor Law

Jack Daniels is another large liquor company at the center of controversy after it had reportedly changed liquor laws to take advantage of smaller competitors.   Jack Daniels’ parent company Brown-Forman  pushed for a bill that requires all Tennessee whiskey to be fermented from a mash containing at least 51 percent corn, filtered through maple charcoal and aged in new oak barrels, according to Fox Business.

This young law hurts small distillers who cannot afford to produce their product in these expensive barrels.

Phil Prichard, president and founder of Prichard’s said the law “ stifles creativity” and puts all the competition in one box.

For more information, read the Fox Business article, here.

Explorers Club Sues Johnnie Walker for Stealing Its Brand

Explorers Club Sues Johnnie Walker for Stealing Its Brand

The Explorers Club is the latest victim to have its name appropriated by a larger liquor brand.

The 120-year-old club, which counts U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as notable members, recently filed a lawsuit against Diageo’s Johnnie Walker for allegedly stealing its trademark and using it for its Explorers’ Club whisky range, according to The New York Post.

The non-profit club, based in Manhattan, is an international professional society that promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space.

Diageo didn’t just steal the Explorer Club’s name, they modeled its airport tasting kiosks after the interior design of the club with wood paneling, beamed ceilings and a standing globe.

Before filing the lawsuit, the club, which owns the trademark on “The Explorers Club,” sent a cease-and-desist letter to Diageo last spring. It filed suit after negotiations with Diageo broke down, according to the The New York Post.

The civil suit says Diageo’s use of the Explorers Club name is likely to deceive, and in fact already has deceived, the public into believing that Diageo’s products are affiliated with The Explorers Club.

For more information, read the New York Post article, here.