It's the scary time of the year and nothing is more scarier than a bunch of lawyers in suits. The owners of the VAMPIRE trademark for wine have sued Applebees for infringement over its Halloween-themed $1 cocktail also called the "Vampire".
(Insert bloodusucking vampire / lawyer joke here.)
Vampire Family Brands, LLC is the owner of Vampire Vineyards and the VAMPIRE trademark that can be seen above in the picture. Since 1998, the California winery has distributed a wide variety of wines under the VAMPIRE trademark and brand. The winery loves its wine and protecting its trademark. In July, the winery sued Taco Bell for infringing the VAMPIRE mark through the fast food chain’s Vampire Burritos, fries and sauce, in a case that is still pending in the Central District of California.
For the Halloween season, Applebee's is selling a $1 cocktail also called the Vampire. The Vampire contains rum, strawberry, passion fruit, dragon fruit, and pineapple juice. Plus, it comes with vampire fangs and a cherry. Sounds like more sugar than Halloween candy and delicious.
The vineyard claims that not only is Applebee's infringing the VAMPIRE trademark but tarnishing it as well through “silly marketing” that denigrates its brand cause it's served with aplastic vampire fangs. The vineyard claims that it sent a cease and desist letter to Applebee's but it failed to timely responded and the lawsuit was necessary. The vineyard seeks damages and its attorneys' fees.
If Applebee's every wanted to fight this matter, it could have a good claim. I can't imagine that many peopler would associate the rum drink with the wine.I have never heard of Vampire win before and I am sure most people have not making consumer confusion not that likely. I assume the parties will put a stake through the heart of this lawsuit and reach a quick settlement. If not, this lawsuit could live on for years, much like Dracula.