Singer Mariah Carey is finding herself fighting a trademark battle with an Irish drinks company over ownership of the name Black Irish, which is currently preventing her from selling a newly launched cream liqueur outside of the US.
Mariah Carey launched her Black Irish Cream Liqueur in a worldwide press release in mid August. What this product launch didn’t acknowledge is the existence of the same Black Irish Trademark on another product already released in the EU and UK more than a year before in June 2020.
The Irish-based Darker Still Spirits Co. previously registered the Black Irish trademark in the UK and all European countries and has since been subject to ongoing objections from Mariah Carey’s team to forfeit the legally held mark.
David Phelan of the Darker Still Spirits Company said: “The Darker Still Spirits Company can confirm that despite unfounded objections from Mariah’s team we still have the legal ownership of the Black Irish trademark in the EU & UK.
“Following a successful acquisition of the brand name that was filed with the relevant IPO office in 2015 we launched the original Black Irish Whiskey brand in June 2020. It is a unique offering, named after, and created using, Ireland’s two most famous exports – black stout and Irish whiskey.
“Myself and my partners in Darker Still are collective veterans of the Irish drinks industry, and it is unprecedented that we are defending our position against a US company, within an Irish industry that we have helped support for over 30 years.
“We also call on Mariah Carey’s appointed agent to stop claiming trademark rights to other products owned by our directors, presumed as a tactic to undermine our wider businesses. Despite being subject to these distractions, it is business as usual and we are expanding the presence of our ‘original’ Black Irish Whiskey across all of Europe.”
David maintains he has solid evidence of brand ownership dating to September 2019, and that the Black Irish trademark was originally registered in Ireland back in July 2015. Black Irish has been publicly available nationwide since mid 2020 and is available in off licenses such as O’Brien’s.
David and his team is also questioning the provenance of Carey’s product. “Questions are now being prepared to Mariah’s brand team to ascertain how a ‘Geographic Indicator’ Irish Cream Liqueur, could have been produced on the Island of Ireland without the relevant EU Trademark permissions.”
While it is unclear who produces Carey’s Black Irish Cream Liqueur, there are six producers registered with the Department of Agriculture for production of Irish cream liqueur along with one bottling and labelling company, and it is not uncommon for these businesses to produce on behalf of a brand. Typically, pre-existing agreements prevenut the producers and brands from openly discussing the provenance of a product.
“What is certain is that we will continue fighting any trademark objection whilst also engaging with the European Commission in regards to specific legalities surrounding Irish cream production,” said David. “This will provide clarity on the matter and resolve an unfortunate situation not of our making.”