Brizzy maker sues Molson Coors over Vizzy brand name. Apparently, if it sounds like “fizzy” it’s too close? … Or is it just if MillerCoors makes the sound? Complaint has shout-out to Beer Business Daily!
Citing its 10,000 cases sold since September 2019 and its forecasts for Brizzy revenue to exceed $2,500,000 in 2020 the makers of Brizzy, a beverage company out of Austin called Future Proof brought suit against Molson Coors (also a beverage company) claiming Molson’s Vizzy hard seltzer is “nearly identical .. in sight, sound, and appearance” to Future Brand’s Brizzy.
As is necessary in such a suit, Brizzy claims its hard seltzer distributors are already asked Future Proof when its Vizzy product will launch and asserting – as some form of allegation, although it’s point is lost on us, that MillerCoors also recently “touted” the Vizzy brand at the vaunted Beer Business Daily Conference in Palm Beach, Florida. You can read the full complaint here.
Here are pictures of the two brands side-by-side:
So you can see for yourself that this must be about the word mark as Vizzy is only ripping off the old Truly cans and not much more:
The complaint is filled with hard-seltzer marketing double-speak that has no real place in a complaint and reads much more like a press release for Brizzy than a complaint against Molson Coors for developing a product nearly contemporaneously with a similar name:
“The meteoric rise of the hard seltzer category has been nothing short of a phenomenon across the US beverage industry. Within the last decade, hard seltzers have grown to account for nearly half of all US mixed drinks and have led to massive innovation within the flavored malt beverage, wine, and spirit-based ready-to-drink sparkling beverages.”
The meat of the assertions is a tad weak – basically amounting to claims that anything looking or sounding like “izzy” which is here, being used for fizzy alcoholic water, infringes. These allegations could apply to any “izzy” ending hard seltzer:
“Defendants’ unauthorized use in commerce of the VIZZY mark infringes Plaintiff’s rights in the BRIZZY mark and violates 15 U.S.C. 1114 because it renders Defendants’ product confusingly similar to the products associated with Future Proof’s well known BRIZZY mark. The word “Vizzy” is, in aural and visual impression, so similar to the word “Brizzy” that it will cause confusion in the marketplace. Defendants’ unauthorized use of the VIZZY mark creates the erroneous impression in consumers’ minds that Defendants’ product has been manufactured, approved, sponsored, endorsed, or guaranteed by, or is in some way affiliated with Future Proof and the BRIZZY mark.”
“The Brizzy® and Vizzy products are both hard seltzer products and will compete head-to-head in the same markets and distribution channels. Similarly, the Brizzy® and Vizzy products will compete for end-user customers in a high-velocity market where the impact of consumer confusion is high and the degree of care exercised by consumers is typically low.”
“The aural similarity in the names of the Brizzy® and Vizzy products is particularly relevant because a consumer who orders a Brizzy® product by name only in a crowded bar or restaurant may not have the opportunity to scrutinize the package of the beverage she is ultimately served. A bartender or waiter may thus serve a Vizzy product in error when a customer orders a Brizzy® product.”
“Future Proof and MillerCoors also advertise in the same or similar mediums, including across all social media platforms, national regional and local events, in store tasting, bar events, and more.”
There is a count in the complaint for a preliminary injunction, so Molson Coors may have a chance to put this to bed early by getting that kicked if Brizzy actually presses for it. But as of now, it doesn’t look like a motion for an injunction has been filed.