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today, Shakespeare would be a Dr. Pepper drinker. The prolific bard (the
general consensus being that he wrote 37 plays) would want a soft drink of
prolific taste (Dr. Pepper boasts 23 flavors). In light of Shakespeare's likely affinity for
Dr. Pepper, I offer a few lines of Hamlet
as an ode to Dr. Pepper's recent trademark filing:
Horatio: Have after. To what issue will this
Marcellus: Something is rotten in the state
of Denmark town of Dublin, Texas.
Dr. Pepper filed a trademark infringement suit against Dr. Pepper Bottling
Company of Dublin, Texas (Defendant). Defendant is one of Dr. Pepper's licensed
bottlers for portions of six central Texas counties. Defendant promotes itself as the oldest Dr. Pepper bottling
plant in the world.
alleges that Defendant violated trademark law and the parties' licensing
agreement by marking its products with the designation "Dublin Dr Pepper."
to the complaint:
Defendant's DUBLIN DR PEPPER Logo creates confusion
that should not exist as to the DR PEPPER Mark and creates confusion for
consumers and the public by suggesting a distinction that does not exist, and
which has been authorized by Plaintiff, when that is not the case. The beverage
that Defendant distributes is "made in strict accordance with the instructions and
formula" provided to Defendant by Plaintiff using concentrate purchased from
Plaintiff, and Defendant has done nothing to change the recipe.3 Nor is the
beverage produced at Defendant's Dublin plant -- it is produced by another bottler
located in Temple, Texas and sold by Defendant under the unauthorized logo.
To further compound the problems with
Defendant's conduct, Defendant sells its products labeled "Dublin Dr Pepper," but has the product
produced by a different bottler in Temple, Texas, outside its territory. This
act of promoting an image of sourcing product from a certain town (in this
case, the town of Dublin, Texas) while bottling the product elsewhere further
trades on the suggestion that "Dublin Dr Pepper" is somehow different from DR
PEPPER and authorized by Plaintiff, when it is not.
asserts that Defendant's modified Dr. Pepper mark falsely suggests that
"Dublin" Dr. Pepper is a unique or distinct product authorized by Dr. Pepper. Consumers
are likely to be misled into believing that "Dublin" denotes a premium form of Dr.
Pepper or that the word "Dublin" denotes a distinct flavor. This, Dr. Pepper
asserts, "risks the entirety of the Dr. Pepper portfolio of flavors and
Dr. Pepper also
asserts that Defendant violated the parties' licensing agreement by selling
outside authorized areas and by selling unauthorized/unapproved merchandise (jewelry,
t-shirts, mugs, koozies and magnets) bearing the Dublin Dr. Pepper logo or the
Dr. Pepper mark.
Dr. Pepper is requesting, among other things, a permanent injunction,
termination of the license agreement, and a declaration that defendant has no
trademark rights or other rights in the Dublin Dr. Pepper logo or the alleged
mark "Dublin Dr Pepper."
View or download the complaint filed in Dr Pepper v. Dr Pepper Bottling, 11cv398 (E.D. TX 6-28-11).
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