When one thinks of parties, sundowners and weekenders, the name Baracdi also comes to the top of each host’s mind. Originating from Cuba, Bacardi is one of the largest privately held family-owned alcohol manufacturers in the world today. Containing a portfolio of over 200 labels and selling every type of liquor from rum to tequila and scotch, the company has an overall presence in over 170 countries. India being one of those countries is a large market for alcohol manufacturers and Bacardi as a brand has placed itself at the helm of the pub culture in cities like Bangalore and Pune.
One popular product of Bacardi is a rum-based drink infused with fruit essence called BREEZER. The Breezer is highly popular amongst the new age crowd of 18 – 40 years old population in the country. In circulation since 2003, Bacardi Breezers are a common sight at bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants today.
Given the popularity of the product, it comes as no surprise that Bacardi has locked horns with Bahety Overseas Pvt. Ltd. another alcohol manufacturer that has launched a rum-based product under the mark of FREEZ MIX. Bacardi has put forward the case that the mark Breezer and even the shape of the bottle in which it is sold are both registered trademarks under class 32 and 33, meant for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
On the face of it, the mark Freez Mix is overtly dissimilar to the Breezer mark. The spellings are different and so is the whole look of the product. So, one wonders where the infringement angle comes from. The similarity between the terms can be noted when pronounced out loud. The Court also noted the phonetic similarity between the terms ‘BREEZ’ and ‘FREEZ’ and the potential of the product to replicate the other. The advocates for Bacardi also put forth that it was easier to cause confusion between the two names as alcoholic products doesn’t get advertised.
While the main infringement case remains pending in front of the Delhi High Court, currently, a temporary injunction has been granted in favour of Bacardi and the sale and manufacture of the Freez Mix has been put on hold until the case is finally disposed off.