Mariah Carey in European Legal Skirmish Over 'Black Irish' Cream Liqueur Name
According to a list of trademark applications and registrations, Mariah Carey has applied for a handful of new trademarks this year. Carey — or at least Carey's attorney — has filled out the paperwork so she could trademark her 10-year-old daughter's name, the phrase "Cause You Know it Ain't Cheap to Show Up as Me," and "Lambily Lounge," which relates to her most dedicated fans, the Lambily.
In 2019, Carey applied to trademark the name and word mark "Black Irish" for use on alcoholic beverages, spirits, and liqueurs. Fast forward to this month, when Carey announced the arrival of Black Irish, her line of premium Irish cream liqueurs. "Two years in the making," she wrote in an Instagram caption. "Truly a cause for celebration!!!"
But according to a fascinating report from Irish website The Currency — which you should totally read — Carey's legal team has very quietly been engaged in a year-long fight over who can use the name Black Irish in Europe. The Currency explains that an Irish company, Darker Still Spirits Co Ltd, currently has the trademark for Black Irish, which they acquired from another company that registered the name in 2015.
Their Black Irish is a blend of Irish whisky that has been aged in charred oak barrels, strong Irish stout, and "infusions of rich chocolate malt and roasted barley," according to their website. The "Spirit Drink" as it's called, is currently available throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom, and the site's Buy Now section lists stockists in Austria, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and Singapore.
The Currency reports that one of Carey's legal representatives approached the founders of that Black Irish, the Irish Black Irish "early on," in an attempt to make a deal for using the trademark throughout Europe. When that didn't happen, Carey's team hired London-based patent and trademark attorneys Finnegan Europe LLP to try to "seize" the trademark, claiming that it had not been "put to continuous use" since it was registered in 2015 and early 2020, when Darker Still Spirits Co Ltd acquired it from the previous trademark-holder. (We're no legal experts, but Black Irish's very active Instagram page might make that claim a little difficult to back up.)
The Irish company's attorneys, Mathys & Squire, have since filed a 133-page response, which included the details about the spirit drink's conception, copies of 2019 emails about the future bottle's design, press releases, legal correspondence about obtaining the "Black Irish" trademark, and other info that they hope will demonstrate that they'd planned to use the name long before they took over the trademark last year.
At the time of this writing, Carey's Black Irish is only available in the United States. "We do not currently have details on the distribution of Black Irish internationally but will certainly be in touch with any updates specific to the EU," a spokesperson for the brand told The Currency.
Whew, anybody else just ready for a drink?