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50 Cent’s cognac company fails to have design infringement case dismissed

By | Published on Thursday 24 March 2022

Remy Martin / Sire Spirits

We’re probably all starting to get a bit tired of song-theft legal battles now and are happily taking a breather while we wait for the verdict in the Ed Sheeran ‘Shape Of You’ case. So, for a bit of a change, how about a bottle design legal battle? Because that’s what sometime rapper 50 Cent is fighting at the moment.

Fiddy’s drinks company Sire Spirits is accused of ripping off the design of its cognac bottles from more famous cognac maker Remy Martin. In a design patent infringement lawsuit launched last year, Remy Martin claims that Sire copied the shape of its bottles and label design in order to “unfairly capitalise” off the more established company’s reputation and “unabashedly profit” from that “bad faith infringement”.

Sire successfully had the case dismissed earlier this year, arguing that Remy Martin had not specified the design elements of its bottles in its lawsuit. The judge concurred, but gave Remy Martin the opportunity to resubmit an amended lawsuit. Which it did less than two weeks later.

Still taking issue with the updated action, Sire again tried to have the case dismissed by claiming that Remy Martin still hadn’t been specific enough about its design elements, while also arguing that a generic container type can’t actually be protected in this way.

But this week, the judge overseeing the case, Alvin Hellerstein, rejected both of those arguments. Regarding the design element specificity, he said that any company “seeking to protect its trade dress in a line of products must articulate the design elements that compose the trade dress”, but that Remy Martin had now “met this burden”.

The case, therefore, continues.