Fisherman vodka found to infringe rights in the Fisherman’s Friend lozenge

Lofthouse of Fleetwood Ltd vs. Nortlander A/S, the Supreme Court

Lofthouse introduced Fisherman Friend’s lozenges on the Danish market in 1977 and obtained from 1973 to 1999 trademark registrations for FISHERMAN’S FRIEND as a word mark and device marks.

Nortlander is manufacturing alcoholic beverages, and introduced in 2001 a “vodka shot” (a vodka product with the added the flavour of liquorice and menthol) under the name Fisherman.

During infringement proceedings, Lofthouse submitted market analysis showing a high degree of awareness of the trademark Fisherman’s Friend among Danish consumers.

On this basis, the Court found that the trademark Fisherman’s Friend has a reputation in Denmark, and further stated that is commonly known in Denmark that the trademark and flavor of a vodka shot is connected to a certain lozenge, candy or similar. Therefore the consumers would associate Fisherman vodka shot with the Fisherman’s Friend lozenge.

The Court further found that the marketing of Fisherman vodka could be detrimental to Fisherman Friend’s lozenge, which was often marketed in connection with sports.

Nortlander was ordered to cease use of the trademark Fisherman for vodka, to cease use of a number of bottle labels and to pay compensation and damages with the amount of DKK 500,000 (approx EUR 66,700).


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