Court bans Diageo Explorers brand

By Doug Newhouse |

New York Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos ruled against Diageo this week, issuing a permanent injunction to stop it using the Explorer’s Club trademark.

This follows the news when Diageo was served with a lawsuit by the New York-based Explorers Club – which funds scientific and educational research – back in March of this year for allegedly using its name without permission. Justice Charles Ramos ruled this week that Diageo did not have any such permission [earlier talks between the two parties over the payment of a licence fee apparently proved unsuccessful-Ed].

As reported at the time, further talks between the two groups to try to resolve the dispute proved unsuccessful. [Full details, click here:].

The Johnnie Walker Explorer Club Collection was launched as a travel retail exclusive product back in 2012 at the TFWA Cannes Show and proved extremely successful worldwide, selling 1.2m bottles in its first seven months to over 100 duty free and travel retail locations [IWSR data-Ed].

Diageo’s leading Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker was already the number one liquor label in duty free and travel retail prior to the launch and a good deal of its recent progress in duty free and travel retail has been credited to the success of the Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Collection.

The legal team who successfully made their case with the judge on behalf of the Explorers Club included lawyers from Boies, Schiller & Flexner who defeated a legal team representing Diageo from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. Diageo is now fully expected to appeal.


A Diageo spokesperson told TRBusiness: “We are extremely disappointed and disagree with the decision of Judge Ramos. We are awaiting official receipt of the order and are planning to seek to stay the injunction while we immediately appeal this case.”

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