Ardbeg wins legal battle over the trademark ArlbergWhisky

The risk of confusing the consumer is too great, judges a European authority


Numerous British media report today of the victory of the Macdonald & Muir Limited company, owners of the Ardbeg Distillery and located under the roof of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy LVMH. The Liechtenstein entrepreneur Norbert Rom had filed a trademark application for “ArlbergWhisky” in 2018 (see the EUIPO entry) and wanted to distribute whisky under this name. Macdonald & Muir Limited company objected because they regard this trademark as too similar to their trademark “Ardbeg”.

One would probably assume that this is about an Arlberg distillery and its whisky. Far from it - Norbert Rom intended to launch a Scotch under the name ArlbergWhisky, reports, among other Newspapers, The Times. Honi soit qui mal y pense…

Macdonald & Muir Limited argued that the likelihood of confusion with the internationally known Islay Whisky Ardbeg was too great and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) followed this argument. It attests: “It is highly conceivable that the relevant consumer (whether professional or not) will perceive the contested sign as a sub-brand, a mere variation of the earlier mark. It follows that the contested sign must be rejected for all the contested goods and services.”

Norbert Rom has to compensate the complaining company Macdonald & Muir Limited for the costs of £ 540 incurred.

Sources: The Times and Scottish Legal News