E. Remy Martin & Co is suing rapper 50 Cent’s over his Branson cognac, alleging it infringes Remy Martin’s trade-dress and design-patent rights in its jewel-shaped glass cognac bottle design.
Reuters reports Remy Martin started legal proceedings on Friday 13 August 2021 at the Manhattan federal court against Sire Spirits. Remy Martin claims that Branson’s similarly shaped bottle is a “blatant attempt” to trade off of the goodwill associated with its popular extra old (XO) cognac.
The 50 Cent took to Instagram over the weekend to poke fun at the cognac company, stating:
“?They are afraid of me already?Branson Cognac is the new wave. REMY is #2 Behind Henny and worried about Branson Smh i’m just getting started”
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.
The American rapper may have started his career selling 15 million copies of his album Get Rich or Die Tryin’, but 50 Cent, a.k.a. Curtis Jackson, has since become an explosive force in liquor industry. In 2018, the booze mogul launched his own brand of Champagne called “for winners only” after partnering with Le Chemin Du Ro. In 2017, 50 Cent sold his stake in EFFEN Vodka for $60 Million. The Grammy winner would likely have to change the jewel-shaped design of his Branson bottle if they lose.
Remy Martin’s Cointreau subsidiary sued the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth a month ago, alleging “Quatreau” CBD-infused sparkling water infringes and dilutes its trademarks.