- Diageo North America is suing Captain Amsterdam, an herbal remedy and e-cigarette refills seller, over the likeness of Captain Amsterdam's marketing components to Diageo's trademark for Captain Morgan spiced rum.
- According to the lawsuit, Captain Amsterdam allegedly imitated the Captain Morgan character, including features like a red pirate hat, flowing red cape, long black hair, a moustache, and a grin, as well as the "Captain" and "Captain Morgan" words in its marketing materials.
- A Diageo spokesperson told Just-Drinks, "Captain Morgan is one of the most well-known and iconic spirit brands in the US and globally. We will strongly protect our intellectual property rights."
Diageo said in the lawsuit that this trademark infraction is causing "irreparable injury" to the brand. Captain Amsterdam has been known to sell not only herbal remedies and e-cigarettes, but it has also sold the psychoactive plant salvia, which can induce hallucinatory visions, and kratom leaves, which are an opiate alternative.
"Diageo alleged the brand is 'clearly intended' to mimic that of Captain Morgan in an attempt to trade upon the brand's goodwill and create consumer confusion,' " The Spirits Business reported.
Last year, Diageo instigated a similar lawsuit against Admiral Nelson rum, owned by Heaven Hill Distilleries, as the brand's marketing featured an historical character that closely resembled Captain Morgan.