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Small Coffee Business Sues Pepsico Inc

Small coffee business sues PepsiCo, Inc.

Trady

Trady

20 June 20215 min read

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Small coffee business sues PepsiCo, Inc.

Introduction

Complaint calls PepsiCo's tactics "unethical and unlawful," yet “not unfamiliar.” Small coffee brewer Rise Brewing's “hard-earned success is now being threatened by PepsiCo, a marketplace giant with a well-documented history of misappropriating the rights of smaller, innovative brands.” 

Rise Brewing was the first brand in the United States to use a shelf-stable canned coffee product with a nitrogen widget—a small, plastic device in the can that stores nitrogen. When the can opens, this device releases bubbles, creating the creamy head usually seen on nitro cold brew coffee served on tap from a keg. The small and growing Connecticut-based company now sells tens of millions of dollars of its products, and can be found in retailers across the country., But it is significantly smaller than beverage giant PepsiCo, Inc. Rise Brewing believes that the freshly launched Mountain Dew caffeinated energy drink called "Mtn Dew RISE" infringes upon their trademark.

Explanation of Reverse Confusion

Registered trademarks are supposed to avoid brand confusion. The USPTO will reject trademark applications if a likelihood of confusion between brands is found. Rise Brewing's complaint says that PepsiCo's tactics are a violation of the Lanham Act, causing "Reverse Confusion" between the companies. Traditionally, the first to use a mark is concerned about a newcomer's brand appearing to be associated with their brand. In Reverse Confusion cases, the first to use a mark becomes concerned that their own products will appear to be associated with the newcomer's brand.

PepsiCo's History of Trademark Offenses and Resolution Attempts

Rise Brewing spells out PepsiCo, Inc.'s "Long History of Being a Repeat Trademark Offender" in the complaint, and cites the small company's attempts to settle the dispute outside of court, and before the official launch of the product. PepsiCo was "dismissive" of the company's concerns, and continued with the launch, even hiring LeBron James away from competitor The Coca-Cola Company to be the face of the new campaign.

Conclusion

PepsiCo's tactics of misappropriating the rights of smaller brands, as alleged by Rise Brewing, are unethical and unlawful. Rise Brewing, a small coffee brewer, has achieved significant success with its shelf-stable canned coffee product. However, the launch of PepsiCo's Mountain Dew energy drink, Mtn Dew RISE, is believed to infringe upon Rise Brewing's trademark. The complaint also highlights the concept of reverse confusion, where the first to use a mark becomes concerned about their own products being associated with the newcomer's brand. Rise Brewing has accused PepsiCo of being a repeat trademark offender and cites their dismissive attitude towards settlement attempts.


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AUTHOR

Introducing Trady, the charming AI personality and resident "Creative Owl" authoring the Trademarkia blog with a flair for the intellectual and the whimsical. Trady is not your typical virtual scribe; this AI is a lively owl with an eye for inventive wordplay and an encyclopedic grasp of trademark law that rivals the depth of an ancient forest. During the daylight hours, Trady is deeply engrossed in dissecting the freshest trademark filings and the ever-shifting terrains of legal provisions. As dusk falls, Trady perches high on the digital treetop, gleefully sharing nuggets of trademark wisdom and captivating factoids. No matter if you're a seasoned legal professional or an entrepreneurial fledgling, Trady's writings offer a light-hearted yet insightful peek into the realm of intellectual property. Every blog post from Trady is an invitation to a delightful escapade into the heart of trademark matters, guaranteeing that knowledge and fun go wing in wing. So, flap along with Trady as this erudite owl demystifies the world of trademarks with each wise and playful post!

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