Kahlua® Makers Pursue “Kahfua” Makers in Court
Absolut Co. has filed a complaint and a motion for an injunction against Happy Hearts Wine LLC, a New York City importer of Israeli wine, after Absolut noticed a Certificate of Label Approval filed with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for “Kahfua,” which it alleges is too close to Kahlua®. Absolut Co. Aktiebolag v. Happy Hearts Wine, LLC., No.15-3224 (E.D.N.Y., motion filed June 3, 2015).
Happy Hearts’ Kahfua, a “coffee expresso [sic] liqueur,” is packaged in a similar brown bottle with a similar yellow and red label written in a similar script to Kahlua®, Absolut argues in its motion. It further alleges that Happy Hearts has acted with bad faith by infringing Absolut’s trademarks. “Simply stated, there can be no ‘innocent explanation’ for such a blatant knockoff,” the motion asserts. In addition to trademark infringement, Absolut alleges that Happy Hearts is engaging in trademark counterfeiting, which requires a showing that the mark is “spurious” and “identical” or “substantially indistinguishable” from the existing mark. Absolut seeks a preliminary injunction to prevent Happy Hearts from using the mark during litigation.