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Hard seltzer companies in fizzy trademark dispute

One of Colorado's best-known companies is locked in a trademark battle over the name of its hard seltzer product. Molson Coors is facing a trademark infringement lawsuit over the name of its newly announced Vizzy brand, which is scheduled to launch in the future. Future Proof Brands, which manufactures an alternate hard seltzer called Brizzy, said that the company should be barred from using the name due to a risk of consumer confusion in the marketplace. Brizzy was created in 2018 and launched in the market in September 2019, and its manufacturer expects to exceed $2 million in sales in its first year of availability.

In a statement, Future Proof Brands said that it welcomes competition, including from large brands, but that the name the large brewery chose was too similar. The company also said that Molson Coors admitted to viewing the Brizzy website, seeing its trademarked name and recognizing that its seltzers were the first to hit the market. Still, Future Proof Brands said, the larger company chose to proceed with naming its own product Vizzy despite the likelihood of confusion caused by the similar name. The lawsuit follows a cease-and-desist letter earlier sent to Molson Coors by Future Proof Brands, which warned against using pre-launch information about Brizzy's formula, design and packaging.

The company also said that Vizzy was announced within two months of Brizzy's launch, sparking further concern about its originality. In response, Molson Coors said that it had already conceived of Vizzy and filed for the trademark and that Brizzy had only a static website at the time. The company also said that its packaging, ingredients and flavor profiles were very different from Brizzy.

In a competitive marketplace, intellectual property can make a critical difference between products. An attorney may help companies to protect their ideas with trademarks and copyrights and defend themselves against infringement.

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