The brewer and pub retailer had applied to register the trademark of ‘Tiger Strike’ in June 2020. But in October of the same year, the application was opposed by Jeffrey Lawrence, owner of the Shropshire Gin Company, who was concerned this would lead to confusion with his own range of Tiger spirits.
Lawrence claimed that the BrewDog marks were “visually, aurally and conceptually similar” to his own products, which would lead to a likelihood of confusion.
The UKIPO ruled in favour of Shropshire Gin Company. In its ruling, it said: “I have found all of the applicant’s goods to be identical with the opponent’s goods under its mark, Tiger Vodka. I have found the marks to be visually, aurally and conceptually similar to a medium degree".
The UKIPO said that a range of factors led it to conclude there will be indirect confusion. These included the fact the goods were identical and the goods will be purchased with no more than a medium level of attention.
It added: “I find a significant proportion of average consumers will note the differences between the respective marks but conclude that the marks relate to economically-linked undertakings, e.g. ‘Tiger Strike’ might be perceived as a range or line of drinks under an overarching brand ‘Tiger’.
BrewDog was also ordered to pay Lawrence £1,000 towards his costs.
A company spokesperson said: “We made the decision not to progress with the launch of Tiger Strike well before the UK Intellectual Property Office came to its conclusion so the ruling has had no impact on our plans.”
This is not the first time that BrewDog has lost a trademark dispute. In 2017 Elvis Presley’s estate won a trademark battle with Scottish craft brewer and pub operator over the rights to use the rock legend’s name in their Elvis Juice beer.