Black Irish, Mariah Carey's new liqueur, cannot be sold in Ireland

Singer Mariah Carey, announcing her new brand of alcohol last month, said her name was Black Irish in a nod to her father, who was black...


Singer Mariah Carey, announcing her new brand of alcohol last month, said her name was Black Irish in a nod to her father, who was black, and her mother’s Irish heritage.

But, at least for now, she can’t sell it in Ireland or the rest of the European Union.

For more than a year, Ms Carey’s line of Irish cream liqueurs has been in conflict with Darker Still Spirits, an Irish liquor company that has owned the European brand Black Irish since 2015.

Representatives for Ms. Carey or her brand did not respond to requests for comment.

Richard Ryan, co-director of Darker Still, said he was confident in his company’s trademark, but criticized Ms Carey’s tactics in trying to reach the European market.

“You are not assimilating into Irish culture while doing everything in your power to harm a real Irish business,” he said.

Darker Still filed its trade mark application in March 2015, and officially introduced her Black Irish product, which is blended with whiskey, in June 2020. Ms. Carey’s representatives, through a company called Lotion LLC, have applied for a European trademark in January 2020, and later applied to the mark “A Cause for Celebration Black Irish” – a decision which was rejected by the Intellectual Property Office of the European Union.

The office said it had not commented on the individual cases.

European authorities are still assessing the status of the Black Irish brand, according to John Herzog, who has a joint venture with Ms Carey at a company called Splashes Beverages. This company registered for the brand Black Irish in January 2021.

“We will let the EUTM decide whether it is a valid mark or not,” Herzog said, using an abbreviation for the EU office. “The beautiful thing about it all is that it’s all based on facts. There are no opinions, there are no assumptions, everything is based on facts. And EUTM will make a decision based on facts.

In March, a company called Herzog Holdings LLC also announced that it would seek revocation of two other Darker Still trademarks, according to a letter from a law firm, Finnegan Europe LLP.

Mr Ryan claimed that the notice was given for the purpose of creating leverage in the dispute. Mr. Herzog denied that there was any connection between the letter and the Black Irish trademark dispute. He also said that no action has been taken regarding these other brands.

Alexander Klett, a partner at Reed Smith LLP and an expert in EU trademark law who is not involved in the case, said such litigation was “quite common” and that Ms Carey’s case was “in progress. somehow blocked ”.

“The only thing you really do is be able to register a trademark yourself, which it obviously has,” he said. “But this trade mark application has a later filing date and is therefore a weaker right, compared to the Irish company’s old pre-existing trade mark.”

Mr Ryan said that while the dispute caused headaches for his business, he also publicized. “I did a search for Mariah Carey about a week ago,” he said. “In Google image search, for about half an hour, I came in first. I said, ‘My parents will be proud.’ “

Mr Ryan said his company’s drink, while not Irish cream liqueur, was also linked to national identity.

“Literally, we are Irish,” Mr Ryan said. “So we called it Irish because it’s mostly Irish whiskey. And we called him Black Irish because he’s black. The liquid is black. And it’s Irish.

Ms. Carey’s product is available in the United States, alongside alcohol brands from other celebrities such as The Actors. George clooney and Ryan reynolds, the model Kendall jenner and boxer Conor McGregor, who sold his brand of whiskey in March for $ 300 million.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Black Irish, Mariah Carey's new liqueur, cannot be sold in Ireland
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