2021-09-17 14:46:52 Black Irish, Mariah Carey’s New Liquor, Can’t Be Sold in Ireland
Black Irish, Mariah Carey’s New Liquor, Can’t Be Sold in Ireland
Mariah Carey, the singer, announced her new liquor brand, Black Irish, last month, in a nod to her father, who was Black, and her mother’s Irish heritage.
But, for the time being, she is unable to sell it in Ireland or the rest of the European Union.
Ms. Carey’s Irish cream liqueur line has been embroiled in a legal battle with Darker Still Spirits, an Irish liquor company that has owned the Black Irish European trademark since 2015.
Ms. Carey’s and her brand’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Darker Still co-director Richard Ryan expressed confidence in his company’s trademark but criticized Ms. Carey’s tactics in attempting to enter the European market.
“You don’t assimilate into Irish culture while doing everything in your power to harm an actual Irish business,” he explained.
Darker Still registered its trademark claim in March 2015, and its Black Irish product, a stout blended with whiskey, will be officially launched in June 2020. Ms. Carey’s representatives applied for the European trademark through a company called Lotion LLC in January 2020, and later applied to trademark “A Cause for Celebration Black Irish” — a move that was rejected by the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office.
The office stated that it does not comment on specific cases.
According to John Herzog, who has a joint venture with Ms. Carey in the company Splashes Beverages, European authorities are still evaluating the status of the Black Irish trademark. In January 2021, that company applied for the Black Irish trademark.
“We will let the E.U.T.M. decide whether it is a valid trademark or not,” Mr. Herzog said, abbreviating the European Union office. “What I love about this whole thing is that it’s all based on facts. There are no opinions or hypotheticals; everything is based on facts. And the E.U.T.M. will make a fact-based decision.”
According to a letter from the law firm Finnegan Europe LLP, Herzog Holdings LLC also indicated in March that it would seek to have two other Darker Still trademarks revoked.
Mr. Ryan claimed the notice was issued in order to gain leverage in the dispute. Mr. Herzog denied that the letter had anything to do with the Black Irish trademark dispute. He also stated that no action had been taken against the other trademarks.
Ms. Carey’s case was “kind of stuck,” according to Alexander Klett, a partner at Reed Smith LLP and an expert in E.U. trademark law who is not involved in the case.
“The only thing you can really do is file a trademark yourself, which she obviously has done,” he explained. “However, because that trademark application was filed later, it has a weaker right than the older pre-existing trademark of the Irish company.”
Mr. Ryan stated that while the dispute had caused his company problems, it had also resulted in publicity. “About a week ago, I did a search for Mariah Carey,” he explained. “For about a half-hour, I was the first result in a Google image search. “I told myself, ‘My parents will be proud.'”
Mr. Ryan stated that his company’s drink, while not Irish cream liqueur, was also linked to national identity.
Mr. Ryan explained, “Quite literally, we’re Irish.” “We named it Irish because it contains a lot of Irish whiskey. And we dubbed it “Black Irish” because it was dark. The liquid is dark in color. It’s also Irish.”
Ms. Carey’s product is available in the United States, alongside the liquor brands of other celebrities, including actors George Clooney and Ryan Reynolds, model Kendall Jenner, and boxer Conor McGregor, who sold his whiskey brand for $300 million in March.