The Similarity Criterion , In Grants' Vs Grand Rare Whisky

01 Nov 1999

The commercial Court of Lebanon rendered a decision preventing the trademark "Grand Rare Whisky" from usage in the Lebanese market. Moreover, the Court decided to cancel the aforementioned trademark and compensated the owners of the infringed trademark "Grant's" 12 million LP (the equivalent of $1.500 U.S) for the damages.
William Grant & Sons Ltd., the plaintiff, is a famous Scotch company who manufactures whisky under its well-known trademark "Grant's". The Scotch Company learned that its trademark is being infringed in the Lebanese markets through Nadir Co., which manufactures the whisky and bottles it; and Lialco Co., which distributes the infringing good. Accordingly, "Grant's" filed a lawsuit against infringes. The court issued a seizure ordering the police to seize infringing goods.
The most interesting recitals of the courts' decision came as follows:
The court stated that it is the courts' competence to determine the similarity criterion. For to the layman consumer, the overall fashion of the product is what counts not deference in the trademarks elements. Consequently, the court decided that the trademark "Grand Rare Whisky" is similar to trademark "Grant's" in a confusing manner to the layman consumer.
The layman consumer does not usually spot the phonetic deference between similar trademarks. For, to him/her, the basic phonetics is "Grand" and "Grant's". Which each product is famous of in terms of the market. The additional wording is not necessarily recognized by the layman consumer.
Moreover, the trademarks subject to question are similar because they are both used on whisky products, although the bottles are different.
The aforementioned infringement action was based on unfair competition. The damages of 12 million L. P were calculated in accordance with the quantities seized in position of the defendants. The plaintiff had claimed 50 million L. P for damages.

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