BrewDog wins trademark battle with Elvis Presley's estate

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

BrewDog wins trademark battle with Elvis Presley's estate
BrewDog has won a long-running trademark battle with Elvis Presley’s estate over the name of one of its craft beers.

The Scottish brewer lost the right to call its grapefruit IPA ‘Elvis Juice’ after the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) ruled in favour of the singer’s estate last July.

BrewDog launched the beer in 2015, but was threatened with legal action by the Presley estate – which argued consumers would assume it was an official product.

In response BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie changed their names to Elvis by deed poll to show that the moniker wasn’t exclusive.

But UKIPO ruled that customers were likely to assume that the beer was endorsed by the singer, and BrewDog was ordered to rebrand the beer and pay Presley's estate £1,500.

But after an appeal, the decision has now been overturned.

BrewDog has been granted permission to trademark ‘BrewDog Elvis Juice’, but not ‘Elvis Juice’.

The brewer wrote in a blog post: “[We] are psyched that the obvious lack of crossover between the legacy of the King of Rock & Roll and our beer has been rendered in black and white.

“As an American IPA the legal challenge from the Presley estate really ground our gears, so we are psyched that common sense had held sway and we are good to go.”

BrewDog is offering a free glass of beer to anyone who comes to their UK bars dressed as Elvis on 3-4 February.

The brewer was forced to dispel cries of hypocrisy last year after threatening the former Lone Wolf bar in Birmingham with legal action​ because it shared its name with its vodka range.

However the company backed down and offered to cover the costs of the Lone Wolf bar’s re-brand, with Watt blaming the incident on ‘trigger happy lawyers’.

Tania Clark, partner and trademark attorney at intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers, said: “BrewDog has managed to show through strong product sales that its BrewDog Elvis Juice is a distinctive product in its own right.

“Brand owners should take care to ensure when naming products that they aren’t likely to infringe other pre-existing marks. Failing to do so, could mean risking a potentially costly and lengthy litigation. However, in this case, the publicity surrounding the dispute may well have played out in BrewDog’s favour.”

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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