Alcohol charity loses ‘Dry January’ trade mark battle

Alcohol charity loses 'Dry January' trade mark battle

An alcohol charity has lost a UK trade mark battle over the term “Dry January”.

Alcohol Change UK (ACUK), previously known as Alcohol Research UK, registered the trade mark in 2014 but decided in 2022 to extend it into areas including drinks marketing.

The extension was challenged by Big Drop Brewing, an alcohol-free beer manufacturer which received “cease and desist” letters from ACUK over its use of the term in marketing materials.

In a 45-page decision, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) ruled in favour of Big Drop and ordered ACUK to pay £1,850 in costs.

Anousha Davies, trade mark attorney at Birketts LLP, representing Big Drop, said: “Birketts was pleased with the Tribunal Section’s decision that ‘DRY JANUARY’ should not be registered as a word mark for the sole benefit of one organisation.

“‘DRY JANUARY’ is a commonly used term to convey abstaining from alcohol consumption during the month of January, rather than a trade mark identifying and distinguishing the source of a particular product or service.

“Registered protection of ‘DRY JANUARY’ would have unduly monopolised this term.”

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