A Minnesota court ruled that Dairy Queen cannot hinder W.B. Mason Co from selling bottled spring water called “Blizzard” – the same name the Berkshire Hathaway Inc unit calls its famous ice cream product.
US District Judge Susan Richard Nelson has released a decision in which it was determined that customers did not grow confused by the Blizzard or W.B Mason’s intention to confuse them, but instead, they simply lacked evidence of such claims.
Dairy Queen is one of the most iconic ice cream brands in America. They started using the product’s name in 1946 when they filed for five trademarks for Blizzard.
Though recognizing that W.B. Mason, which has two Blizzard trademarks, is not a direct competitor, Dairy Queen stated that customers might be confused due to its US restaurants selling bottled water.
However, the judge stated that the products had “very different audience appeal” and have both existed for 11 years even with proof that Dairy Queen’s Blizzard had reached “iconic” status – with estimated US sales of $1.1 billion in 2020.
“Dairy Queen introduced no evidence of an actual association between the two products,” Nelson said in a statement. “If association were to occur, in all likelihood, it would have occurred by now.”
Last fall, a judge issued a verdict after 12 days of a non-jury hearing with 30 witnesses. The decision is dated June 10th, but it was made private for one week, with the lawsuit starting in March 2018.
Dairy Queen stated that it was dismayed and assessing whether to appeal and would “vigorously enforce our rights when necessary” to safeguard the franchisees.
In a statement, a Nixon Peabody partner representing W.B. Mason, Jason Kravitz, described the decision as “a supremely satisfying and hard-fought win.”
Dairy Queen’s Blizzard has an endless list of flavors to choose from, with specialties like fruit-filled nutteries and M&Ms in every bite.
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