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Brewdog v Elvis: Dog on top in trade mark battle

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 02 February 2018

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In 2016, Scottish Brewery BrewDog received an unexpected letter which outlined that the Estate of Elvis Presley was taking action against their trade mark applications.

The trade mark applications were for ‘BrewDog Elvis Juice’ and ‘Elvis Juice’, the name of a new product developed by BrewDog.

The applications were opposed by Presley’s Estate, oppositions which were initially successful.

However, BrewDog appealed the rejections of their application through the UK Intellectual Property Office.

In January of this year, the UK Intellectual Property Office allowed ‘BrewDog Elvis Juice’ to continue but denied the appeal for ‘Elvis Juice’.

The Appointed Person who made judgment on the matter on behalf of the UK IPO, Phillip Johnson accepted that the name ‘Elvis’ was connotations with Presley but stated that those connotations were not exclusively in respect of Presley. 

Johnson said “that ‘BrewDog Elvis Juice’ conjures several concepts to mind, such as dogs, brewing and liquids, whereas Elvis is just a name”.

There was therefore low conceptual similarity between the marks.

Therefore, BrewDog were successful in registering ‘BrewDog Elvis Juice’, and expressed their delight in a press release which outlined the decision.

The co-founders of BrewDog James Watt and Martin Dickie have maintained a level of humour the whole way through, even changing their names to Elvis by Deed Poll. This humour continues after their victory as anyone who arrives at one of their bars this weekend (February 3-4th 2018) dressed as Elvis will receive a free Elvis Juice beer.

At one stage BrewDog were all shook up and now they have come out on top.

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