Crown Royal Files Another Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against Whiskey Manufacturer For Similar Packaging

Diageo North America, Inc.- the maker of Crown Royal- is attacking Mexcor, Inc. again to protect its Crown Royal brand. Back in February 2013, Diageo filed a lawsuit in New York federal district court against Mexcor for disparaging advertisements regarding Diageo’s Crown Royal brand. In the complaint, Diageo took issue to the advertising of Mexcor’s Texas Crown Club brand, at the expense of the Crown Royal brand by characterizing Crown Royal as “that poison.”

Diageo has filed another lawsuit against Mexcor for trademark infringement.[1] This time Diageo brings its action against Mexcor in the federal Southern District of Texas for manufacturing, marketing, and distributing similar whiskey products.

Diageo owns multiple trademarks for use of the name Crown Royal, as well as for its purple bag packaging. Besides whiskey, Diageo uses these trademarks in connection with clothing (including jackets, boxers, flip-flops, and shirts) and sponsorship of sporting and cultural events.[2]

Mexcor distributes and markets “competing Canadian whiskies under the names Texas CROWN Club, Florida CROWN Club, Tennessee CROWN Club, Arkansas CROWN Club, and South Carolina CROWN Club.”[3] Diageo believes that, “each of these brand names emphasizes the distinctive and famous ‘Crown’ term that is closely identified with CROWN ROYAL® whisky – and is substantially and confusingly similar to the CROWN ROYAL® trademark.”[4] Per the complaint, the pictures below evidence the sale of Mexcor’s products next to Diageo’s products:

Compl. at 13, supra note 1.

Further, Diageo believes that Mexcor has engaged in “willful and wanton” conduct by engaging in deceptive marketing practices to confuse customers. Diageo describes this conduct as follows:

Defendants’ willful and wanton intent is evidenced by the fact that Defendants themselves posted the following photograph on their SOUTH CAROLINA CROWN Facebook page (which does not use the word “CLUB” in its title) showing their South Carolina CROWN Club whisky intermixed with CROWN ROYAL® whisky, with the description “Look at that great stack of South Carolina Crown Whisky[5]

Compl. at 14, supra note 1.

Further, Mexcor has just recently filed multiple trademark applications for the use of the marks “Crown” and “Crown Club” with its whiskey.[6] (See below.)

Compl. at 15-16, supra note 1.

To make things even more interesting, Mexcor has also filed several trademark applications for its whiskey packaging in cloth bags.[7] The bags “emphasize the word ‘CROWN’ and include a cloth bag designed to incorporate a state flag or other symbol referencing a geographic location included in each of these marks.”[8] (See below.)

  #2  #3  #4

Diageo believes the marketing and packaging of Mexcor’s whiskey products have infringed and diluted Diageo’s Crown Royal trademarks. Diageo’s complaint contains an extensive prayer for relief that includes an injunction against Mexcor’s current display of the term “Crown” and its similar bag packaging, compensatory and punitive damages, and cancellation of Mexcor’s pending trademark applications.[9]

[1] Diageo North America, Inc. v. Mexcor, Inc. and EJMV Investments, LLC, No. 4:13 CV 00856 (S.D Tex. Mar. 26, 2013).

[2] Compl. at 9-10, supra note 1.

[3] Compl. at 12, supra note 1.

[4] Compl. at 12, supra note 1.

[5] Compl. at 13-14, supra note 1.

[6] Compl. at 15-16, supra note 1.

[7] Compl. at 16-20, supra note 1.

[8] Compl. at 16, supra note 1.

[9] Compl. at 27-31, supra note 1.

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  1. GordonHud · · Reply

    Just bought a bottle of “Ultra Premium Colorado Crown Club Whisky” tonight as a gift for a friend who is a die-hard Crown Royal drinker. Am VERY disappointed to learn that the “Colorado” version isn’t actually made by Crown Royal. Hoping he likes the bag, at least. Tricky advertising that will only work once on most!

  2. Tom Lord · · Reply

    You were probably even more surprised once you discovered that the Colorado Crown Club actually tastes better than the Crown Royal.

    1. You are correct, Tom. I’m a long time Crown Royal fan, but when I tasted the Colorado Select Club, it was surprisingly good. Very similar notes to Crown Royal, but much, much smoother.

  3. Jeff Nadalo · · Reply

    I thought that both of the companies were the same! Apparently, “Crown Club” is not affiliated with Crown Royal

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