The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has ruled in favour of microbrewer Dark Sky Brewery on a trademark application opposed by Campari Group.

Campari Group said the English brewery, whose founder Steve White applied for trademark rights in 2022, was too similar to its Skyy vodka brand and could cause confusion.

White sought sole trademark rights for Dark Sky Brewery on goods and services including beer mats, glasses and jugs, as well as retail services and future beers.

The Campari Group opposed the application that same year. The Italian spirit major argued its vodka brand was sold across online retail websites such as Waitrose and Asda in the UK under the “beer, wine and spirits” category, thus potentially in same space as Dark Sky Brewery’s products.

“There may be some degree of competition between the goods but given the differences between them, I do not consider that the competitive choice between beer and vodka is commonly made,” wrote IPO registrar S Wilson.

Wilson said the two brands’ logos were similar to only a “low degree” and added: “Bearing in mind the visual differences between the marks, and the predominantly visual purchasing process, I do not consider that the marks are likely to be mistakenly recalled or misremembered as each other.

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“I do not consider that the common element, being the word sky, is so strikingly distinctive that the average consumer would expect only one undertaking to be using it.”

Wilson added: “I have no evidence before me to suggest that the producers of these goods are likely to coincide, nor do I consider it likely. In licensed premises, spirits are typically displayed in bottles behind a bar, whilst beer would be on taps at the front of the bar or in fridges.”

The IPO has ordered Campari to pay White’s legal costs and time spent on the case, which is estimated at around £1,026 ($1,307), as White represented himself.

Campari acquired the Skyy vodka brand in 2009 from the spirits initial 1992 founder Maurice Kanbar’s Skyy Spirits.