Diageo wins legal battle over Baileys rival

As reported by The Times, Scottish drink’s promoter, Philip Perseval, 73, was planning to launch McBaileys – a liqueur made from Scotch and cashew nuts. Perseval applied to register the McBaileys brand name as a trademark through his company, Children’s Cancer Aid. He was planning on using proceeds from sales of McBaileys to help children who have lost parents to cancer.

According to The Times, Diageo lodged a formal objection to the application as the McBaileys name was too similar to the name of its own cream liqueur brand. Diageo said McBaileys would threaten sales of Baileys and may damage its reputation as customers would think the brand was somehow linked to Baileys.

“There is a significant risk that use of the sign McBaileys for the applicant’s goods would take unfair advantage of the distinctive character and/or repute of the earlier marks in that the applicant would take advantage of the significant investment that the opponent had made in the reputation of its brand. “There is a risk that the use of McBaileys for the applicant’s goods would be detrimental to the reputation of the earlier marks. Since the opponent has no way of verifying the quality of the applicant’s products, any association with McBaileys may tarnish the reputation of the earlier marks and/or undermine the investment function,” Diageo said.

The UK Intellectual Property Office, which rules on trademark disputes, ruled in Diaego’s favour and Perseval was ordered to pay £1,500 towards Diageo’s costs. “Aside from the legal principle of breaching intellectual property rights, it is not appropriate for one of our alcohol brands to be associated with activity relating to children,” a Diageo spokesperson said. Launched in 1974, Baileys is made from cream, cocoa and Irish whiskey. The brand has a 75% share of the cream liqueur market in the UK and sells over 7 million cases worldwide each year.

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