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Remy Martin says rapper 50 Cent's cognac infringes IP rights

2 minute read

Cast member 50 Cent poses at the premiere for "Den of Thieves" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

  • Rapper's Branson cognac bottle a "near exact reproduction"
  • Remy claims its XO cognac is second-best-selling in U.S.

(Reuters) - E. Remy Martin & Co sued rapper and entrepreneur Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's Sire Spirits in Manhattan federal court on Friday, alleging its Branson cognac infringes Remy Martin's trade-dress and design-patent rights in its jewel-shaped glass cognac bottle design.

Remy Martin called Sire's similarly shaped bottle a "blatant attempt" to trade off of the goodwill associated with its popular extra old (XO) cognac.

Sire didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Remy Martin or its attorney Joe Farco of Norris McLaughlin.

French distiller Remy Martin said its XO cognac is the second-best-selling XO cognac in the U.S., behind Hennessy's. Its "Centaure de Diamant" cognac bottle has a distinctive "circular array of raised flat and angled quadrilateral facets" around a wheel-like body that converge at a "centrally located circular surface," according to the complaint.

Remy Martin also said its bottle design is famous, noting its "extensive advertising, promotion, and sales over the past 35 years," unsolicited media coverage, and public recognition with celebrities, among other things.

The complaint said Jackson and Sire applied for a design patent and federal trademark in 2019 and 2020, respectively, covering a similar bottle for their Branson cognac. Sire launched the Branson brand in 2018, and the complaint said it has been using the infringing bottle to sell its own XO cognac since at least the beginning of 2020.

Sire's design is "nearly indistinguishable" from Remy Martin's bottle, the complaint said, calling it a "near exact reproduction." Remy Martin said consumers and media have also commented on the bottles' "striking" similarity.

Remy Martin's Cointreau subsidiary sued the Canadian maker of the CBD drink "Quatreau" for infringing trademarks covering the orange liqueur in the same Manhattan court last month.

The case is E. Remy Martin & Co v. Sire Spirits LLC, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1:21-cv-06838.

For Remy Martin: Joe Farco of Norris McLaughlin

For Sire: Not available

Read more:

Cointreau sues maker of 'Quatreau' CBD drinks over trademarks

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

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