American singer, song-writer and actress Mariah Carey launched her Black Irish Cream Liqueur, which was covered by worldwide media last week.
In a statement, the Irish based Darker Still Spirits Co.' said it had previously registered the Trademark in the UK and all European countries on another product Black Irish Whiskey, which was already released in the EU and UK more than a year before in June 2020.'
'On behalf of the company', David Phelan of the Darker Still Spirits Company commented, “The Darker Still Spirits Company can confirm that despite unfounded objections from Mariah’s [Carey] team we still have the legal ownership of the 'Black Irish’ trademark in the EU & UK."
"Following a successful acquisition of the brand name that was filed with the relevant IPO office in 2015 we launched the original Black Irish Whiskey brand in June 2020. It is a unique offering, named after, and created using, Ireland's two most famous exports - black stout and Irish Whiskey," he said.
Irish Drinks Industry Veterans
Phelan highlighted in the statement that he and his partners in Darker Still are 'collective veterans of the Irish drinks industry' and 'it is unprecedented that they are defending their position against a US company, within an Irish industry that they have helped support for over 30 years.'
"We also call on Mariah Carey's appointed agent to stop claiming trademark rights to other products owned by our directors, presumed as a tactic to undermine our wider businesses," he said.
"Despite being subject to these distractions, it is business as usual and we are expanding the presence of our ‘original’ Black Irish Whiskey across all of Europe," Phelan added.
He noted that similar rules apply to Irish cream as to Champagne or Cognac, and questions are now being prepared to Carey's brand team to ascertain how a 'Geographic Indicator' Irish Cream Liqueur, could have been produced on the Island of Ireland without the relevant EU Trademark permissions.