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La Fee hits out at "no-holds-barred" Bacardi over Angel's Envy trademark fight

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UK-based absinthe producer La Fee has accused Bacardi of "scare tactics" in an ongoing trademark battle related to the spirits multinational's Angel's Envy Bourbon.

La Fee claims its Envy trademark should be protected from Bacardis Angels Envy expansion

La Fee claims its Envy trademark should be protected from Bacardi's Angel's Envy expansion

For the past two years, Bacardi has been attempting to trademark the Angel's Envy name and logo worldwide in the face of La Fee objections, which claims the name of the Bourbon is too similar to its Envy brand of spirits. Last month, La Fee won a ruling in the UK's IPO court over the name and a wider decision in the EU court over the logo. Appeals and filings in other jurisdictions are likely to delay a final decision.

Describing his two-year fight as "David vs Goliath", La Fee owner George Rowley this week questioned Bacardi's respect for its fellow drinks industry players and upbraided what he called "a no-holds-barred approach [in] trying to squash us". Rowley also said Bacardi's claims over Angel Envy "do not stack up", and pledged to "defend my brand to the hilt".

"I feel that all respect has been chucked out of the window," Rowley told just-drinks today. "We are a three-person office. We couldn't be any smaller."

Rowley said he does not want to stop Bacardi from selling its products but warned that consumers could confuse Angel Envy with his Envy portfolio, or assume there is a connection.

"If they launch their brand worldwide, mine will be swamped and diluted out of all existence without compensation," he said. "Having lost these two key battles [in the UK and EU], I hope Bacardi will now change their approach. If so, my door is open, but I will not be bullied into submission."

Bacardi did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Rowley, Bacardi lodged an appeal to the UK IPO decision on Tuesday. Meanwhile, he is appealing twin IPO losses in Spain and France over the Angel's Envy name. He believes the recent EU decision over the logo could help overturn the verdicts.

La Fee has sold its absinthe brand since 2007 under the Envy name as well as the two-letter abbreviation NV. In 2016, La Fée launched a full suite of spirits also with its NV/Envy branding. The Angel's Envy brand was created by Wes Henderson in 2011, with Bacardi purchasing it four years later.

The NV absinthe expression is available in the US, but La Fee has decided not to take on Bacardi in the market. "We could have gone after them in the US, but it would have needed a lot of money," Rowley said.

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Sectors: Legislation, Spirits

Companies: Bacardi Ltd

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