A subsidiary of Italian drinks giant Campari has successfully opposed an application by an Australian brewing company to trade mark its pilsner beer brand.
Blue Sky Brewery, formerly based in Cairns but no longer trading, applied to trade mark its Blue Sky Pilsner in February 2011.
US-based Skyy Spirits, a subsidiary of Italy’s Campari Group, claimed the brand was too similar to brands associated with its Skyy Vodka trademark, including the ready-to-drink product Skyy Blue, produced in partnership with Miller Brewing Company and marketed in Australia since 2003.
Skyy argued there was a strong likelihood of confusion if both trade marks were used in the marketplace on alcoholic beverages.
The dispute was heard in March 2015 and Adrian Richards, Delegate of the Registrar of Trade Marks, finally handed down his ruling on March 31 this year.
In refusing to register the Blue Sky Pilsner trade mark, Richards said the circumstances in which alcoholic drinks are purchased was relevant.
“They may be purchased in bars or nightclubs which can be dimly lit, noisy and crowded environments,” he said.
“When in this situation, alcoholic beverages will often be ordered by name from behind a bar, relatively distant from the product itself.
“Normal use of the goods will tend to cause a degree of inebriation. Even when ‘exceptional carelessness or stupidity’ is disregarded, the circumstance in which the goods may be bought and sold adds to the likelihood of deception or confusion,” the Delegate said.
Blue Sky’s legal representative, Thomas Stevens of O’Reilly Stevens Lawyers, told Australian Brews News the brewery’s founders had actively defended their application because they plan to resurrect the brand at some stage.