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Classic Liquor Importers, Ltd. v. Spirits International B.V.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
151 F. Supp. 3d 451 (2015)


Spirits International B.V. (defendant) produced vodkas called Stolichnaya, Elit by Stolichnaya, and Elit. Classic Liquor Importers, Limited (plaintiff) was a new liquor distributor that sought to produce a vodka called Royal Elite. Spirits opposed Classic’s application to register the mark Royal Elite. In May 2015, Spirits sent Classic a cease-and-desist letter, stating that Classic’s proposed use of the mark infringed on Spirits’s trademark and that Spirits would vigorously protect its trademarks. Classic began selling its Royal Elite vodka in September 2015. In August 2015, Classic sued Spirits, seeking a declaratory ruling that its use of the mark Royal Elite was not infringing. Spirits filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that (1) given the newness of Classic’s product, evidence of actual consumer confusion was not yet available, and (2) in October 2015, Spirits sent Classic a letter stating that it had no intention to sue Classic for trademark infringement. In this letter, however, Spirits it reserved its right to bring suit.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rakoff, J.)

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