Captain beats Admiral

Does a captain outrank an admiral? Trademark-wise? It does in Canadian liquor-stores.

A Canadian Federal Court ruled that Admiral Nelson’s rum infringes on the Captain Morgan character’s trademark. Consequently, all sales of products with the Admiral character must cease and desist.

The decision is the result of a trademark lawsuit filed by liquor giant Diageo. The issue was whether the two characters – both very loosely based on real sailors, sporting naval uniforms with capes, holding swords and sprouting impressive moustaches – could be confused by average consumers. The case focused on “trade dress”, the overall appearance of the product.

While the court did not determine that Admiral Nelson’s had “willfully set out to mimic” Captain Morgan, it did find that the brand could potentially “cause confusion”, and that this could impact Captain Morgan’s sales or its ability to control its image and “goodwill.”

Source: The Globe and Mail

Erwin Hauër

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