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Cointreau sues maker of 'Quatreau' CBD drinks over trademarks

2 minute read

The logo of Cointreau is seen at the Carre Cointreau in the Cointreau distillery in Saint-Barthelemy-d'Anjou near Angers, France. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

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  • Cointreau says Canadian cannabis company trading off of liqueur's name
  • Quatreau accused of being confusingly similar, sold through similar outlets

(Reuters) - The maker of Cointreau orange liqueur sued Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth in Manhattan federal court on Friday, alleging Canopy's "Quatreau" CBD-infused sparkling water infringes and dilutes its trademarks.

The similarity of their names, the sales of the drinks through the same channels, and Cointreau's plans to sell non-alcoholic drinks make Canopy's brand likely to cause consumer confusion, Cointreau Corp said in its complaint.

Cointreau's French parent company Remy Cointreau and its attorneys Jeanne Hamburg, Bruce Londa, and David Siegel of Norris McLaughlin didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, and neither did Canopy.

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The complaint says Cointreau was created in 1849 and has been sold in the U.S. since 1885. According to the complaint, over 4 million bottles of the liqueur were sold in the U.S. last year.

Canopy launched Quatreau in the U.S. in March. Cointreau said Canopy chose the name to trade off of its reputation, instructing customers to pronounce it as "kwatro" -- which is identical to "Cointreau" minus the letter "n".

The complaint said that Quatreau will cause confusion with Cointreau based on their aural similarity, use of "treau", and sales in the same bars, restaurants and stores.

Cointreau also said Canopy plans to add THC to Quatreau -- which it already does in Canada -- as soon as it is legal in the U.S., which would make it more likely to cause confusion because THC-infused drinks are "intoxicating and often consumed for those effects just as alcoholic beverages are."

Cointreau said it is also "actively considering" selling non-alcoholic drinks in the U.S., calling it a "logical extension" of its brand.

"Thus, not only will products bearing the Cointreau Mark appear alongside Quatreau CBD products on the same shelves in the marketplace, but consumers recognize that both Cointreau and Quatreau waters could be sold," the complaint said. "Such circumstances exemplify the Defendants' intention to trade off the market dominance and fame of the Cointreau mark."

The case is Cointreau Corp v. Canopy Growth USA LLC, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1:21-cv-05921.

For Cointreau: Jeanne Hamburg, Bruce Londa, and David Siegel of Norris McLaughlin

For Canopy: N/A

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Washington-based correspondent covering court cases, trends, and other developments in intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Previous experience at Bloomberg Law, Thomson Reuters Practical Law and work as an attorney.

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