Mariah Carey in row over "Black Irish" trademark

Thursday 26 August 2021

Mariah Carey in row over Black Irish trademark |
Mariah Carey has reportedly been locked in a trademark row with Irish drink entrepreneurs after launching her own brand of cream liqueur. The We Belong Together hit-maker, 52, revealed on Instagram earlier this month that she has finally launched her Black Irish cream liqueur in the US after two years in the making.

However, it's since been claimed Mariah is embroiled in a secret trademark row with drinks makers Darker Still Spirits Co Ltd, who have their own Black Irish product that is currently on sale in Ireland.

The Irish drink entrepreneurs took over the trademark for "Black Irish" from a different company several years ago in 2015 and have since launched their alcoholic drink - an Irish whiskey blended with stout, chocolate malt and roasted barley.

According to The Currency, the company has plans to launch their Black Irish whiskey in Europe. They already hold the trademark for Black Irish in the EU. The founders of Darker Still Spirits Co. are claiming that Mariah's legal team is now trying to prevent them from using the trademark.

Filings in the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) reveal the trademark row, with it listed that the Irish drinks makers had been working on their Black Irish beverage for years, despite the company only being set up in May 2020.

It's claimed a representative for Mariah approached the company to try and acquire the Black Irish trademark in the EU, but failed to secure a deal. Mariah now plans to launch her cream liqueur, which is produced in Ireland and is a nod to her heritage as her mother is from Cork, in Europe, with records suggesting the singer's legal team are hoping to take over control of the trademark.

Mariah's lawyers alleged the trademark has "not been put to genuine use within a continuous period of five years" - arguing that it should now be revoked. However, the drinks makers filed a response outlining how the trademark has been used within that time period and why Mariah's claim should be rejected.

Releasing a statement on behalf of the Darker Still Spirits Co. and its directors, David Phelan claimed: "The Darker Still Spirits Company can confirm that despite unfounded objections from Mariah's team we still have the legal ownership of the 'Black Irish' trademark in the EU & UK."

"Following a successful acquisition of the brand name that was filed with the relevant IPO office in 2015 we launched the original Black Irish Whiskey brand in June 2020. It is a unique offering, named after, and created using, Ireland's two most famous exports - black stout and Irish Whiskey."

Phelan continued: "Myself and my partners in Darker Still are collective veterans of the Irish drinks industry, and it is unprecedented that we are defending our position against a US company, within an Irish industry that we have helped support for over 30 years."

"We also call on Mariah Carey's appointed agent to stop claiming trademark rights to other products owned by our directors, presumed as a tactic to undermine our wider businesses. Despite being subject to these distractions, it is business as usual and we are expanding the presence of our 'original' Black Irish Whiskey across all of Europe."

"Similar rules apply to Irish cream as to Champagne or Cognac, and questions are now being prepared to Mariah's brand team to ascertain how a 'Geographic Indicator' Irish Cream Liqueur, could have been produced on the Island of Ireland without the relevant EU Trademark permissions."

"What is certain is that we will continue fighting any trademark objection whilst also engaging with the European Commission in regards to specific legalities surrounding Irish cream production. This will provide clarity on the matter and resolve an unfortunate situation not of our making."

MailOnline has reached out to a representative for Mariah for comment. Reports of the trademark row come after Mariah was seen celebrating the release of her Black Irish cream liqueur on her social media channels. She revealed the liqueur is available in three flavours; original Irish cream, salted caramel and white chocolate.

Mariah isn't the only celebrity to have ventured into the alcohol industry, with several stars developing their own brand of drink. Kendall Jenner recently released her 818 tequila, while Ryan Reynolds is often seen promoting his own line of gin, Aviation American Gin, George Clooney teamed up with best pal Rande Gerber to launch their Casamigos tequila and David Beckham is associated with Haig Club - a luxury Scottish highland whiskey.

(Daily Mail)

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